Self Care When Dealing with Alzheimer's
In 1999, my grandmother developed dementia in her late 70’s soon after my grandpa died. She was living with no one to make sure she took her medication and help her with her daily routines. My mother and aunt took over the caregiving duties during this difficult time. Her forgetfulness slowly progressed and her older mind deteriorated after this loss of independence. She lived in a small town named Taylor, Texas and loved driving herself to her appointments and around town to see her friends and family. However, she was a danger to herself and others when she was behind the wheel since she forgot directions and street names and where and why she was going out in the first place. My mom and aunt didn’t have the heart to tell their own mother that she couldn’t drive anymore, so they asked her doctor to order her to stop driving herself around town. With this loss of independence, she quickly went downhill and died when she was 81 years old. I unfortunately was a witness to the terrible degenerative diseases of dementia/Alzheimer’s and the loss of my grandma had a profound impact on me as a child.
My mother and aunt did their best to care for their mother during the last stage of her life and I admire them greatly for how they handled such a difficult situation. Through the women in my family, I learned a great deal of how to be a selfless caregiver. And through my own research and life experience, I have also discovered the importance of self-care. We have to be physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared to deal with life’s multitude of challenges.
I realized that self-care is not just about taking time for yourself to relax and draw a bubble bath, it also means relying on others during difficult times, using your support networks to help you help the person you’re caring for, and also using tools and resources that are available to you. One of the reasons why I started working for KikuPal is because I believe KikuPal is a much needed tool and resource not only for people suffering from memory and ability loss like my grandma, but also for the caregivers like my mom and aunt. KikuPal would’ve been a great resource for my family, as my mom and aunt could have easily scheduled house cleaning, lawn care, meals, rides, and more for my grandma. Although my grandmother had her children as her caregivers, they weren’t always up for the tasks of cleaning, mowing, cooking, and driving my grandmother around town. They also had their own lives and a big part of my mom’s life was raising me as many caregivers have their own lifes, families, and careers to attend to.
My family would have been ideal for the use of the solution that KikuPal provides… an excellent way to delegate those tasks that take our time but can be better used to take care of ourselves. If KikuPal existed in the early 2000’s we could have also used it to schedule safe, reliable rides for my grandma so she could get to her doctor’s appointments or meet with her friends to play bridge, for example. And at the same time, it would have provided more time for my mother and aunt to attend to their own children and careers.
It is vital that both caregivers and receivers of care take good care of themselves to the best of their ability in order for the caregivers to not over stress and/or burn out. KikuPal is a great tool that caregivers and people needing care can leverage today that takes some of the burden out of life’s most difficult challenges.