Friday, September 17, 2010
4:11 pm edt
Caregiver: Identify Your Need for Help, and Get It
If you are a caregiver, how do you know if the stress is
becoming too much for you? The following is a list of yes or no questions. Take a moment to look through these and identify
those that are current or potential problems for you and mark them "Yes".
- You don't get out much anymore.
argue with the person you care for.
have conflicts with other family members. Yes
- You abuse drugs, alcohol, or medications.
appetite has changed. Yes
- You isolate yourself from others.
- You behave in a compulsive manner or are overly focused on minor details.
- You feel listless; you lack energy.
feel more angry, anxious, or worried than usual Yes No
- You have a difficult time controlling your emotions. Yes
- You have a hard time concentrating. Yes
- You have physical symptoms
of anxiety, such as an upset stomach, headaches, or a racing heart.
- You often forget things. Yes
- You are clumsy or accident-prone.
have self-destructive or suicidal thoughts. Yes
- You sleep more or less than usual.
never seem to get enough rest.
feel guilty about your situation. Yes
If you answered "Yes" to even
a few of the questions above, you probably need assistance. So, now what? Here are some tips on what assistant to seek
out and some ideas of where to get it:
a Support Group. Just a couple of the groups in Naples include:
- The Alzheimer's Support Network: http://www.alzsupportnetwork.org/ 239-262-8388
- National Alliance for the Mentally Ill/NAMI: http://www.namicollierco.org/ 239-434-6726
- Mental Health Association of SWFL: http://www.mhaswfl.org/ 239-261-5405
B. Ask for Help. This is probably the simplest answer; however, many caregivers
just don't do it. Help from your family or friends could give you time, emotional support or financial assistance. If you
don't ask for help, they probably don't know you need it.
- You may never
need to place your loved one in an assisted living facility (ALF), but if you do, making this decision when you have the time
to do so, and are not pressured because of an emergency, will allow you to make the best decision possible.
- If appropriate, it can be helpful to identify, research and consider
in-home care, meal delivery services, respite care, adult day care and/or transportation services.
4. Take Time for Yourself: This is very difficult,
but scheduling time for yourself is just as important as taking care of your loved ones. Maintain your interests. Keep balance
in your life. Eat well, exercise, rest, and take time off.
5. Be Realistic. Recognize what you can and cannot do, and don't feel guilty when something
is outside of your ability.
Communication: When tensions and misunderstandings develop (and they will), address them quickly. Although it will
be difficult this is the best course of action. Avoiding such difficult situations will only make them worse. To reach Dr.Saldukas for questions or assistance, call 239-293-0230.