Tuesday, August 03, 2010

How I cope

Thanks for your comments to my last post. I appreciate the helpful advice. Even tho' I crabbed a bit in my last post, I do take steps to cope.

Here's how I've finally learned to cope with caregiving after 15 years of it:
  • I have a great therapist who has experience with dementia & end of life

  • I take antidepressants

  • I get away for one or two days a month to get a break

  • I get away for a week every two or three months for work and I add additional days when I can

  • I sit in a quiet house and just breath when H is sleeping

  • I have a job that is not too demanding (e.g., I am under employed) that I generally like

  • I have (a lot of) help around the house: cleaning, yard work, and for H: social worker, visiting RN & volunteers, the occasional doctor, caregivers for when I travel

  • I try to simplify everything to reduce stress; for example, bills are on auto-pay (mostly), I use a meal service (thescramble.com) for meal planning & recipes, getting someone else to set up H's meds

  • I get regular exercise, both at the gym and in the garden

  • I eat healthy foods with only the occasional pig-out on ice cream

  • I no longer drink except when travelling

  • I am ruthless about prioritizing my time in this order: me, H, everything else

  • I try not to go to every Dr. appointment with H

  • I piss & moan on this blog, which helps me tremendously

  • Bit by bit, I continue to reduce my expectations for H and my interactions with him

  • I've realized that H is pretty demented and that he won't change; all I can do is change my reaction and approach

  • I have learned to listen first to H, then pause, then think before I speak (he often doesn't mean what he says, I found out)

  • I don't expect H to get better anymore

  • I take one day a week, usually Saturday, and just do whatever I want, whenever I can

  • I fantasize about what life will be like for me after H is gone

  • I'm plotting to complete my bucket list whether H is here or not

  • I fancy myself a single man, even tho' I'm caring for my long-time partner

  • I accept that this situation is horrible for all parties and that H is certainly hurting too

  • I remind myself that I make the choice to be the caregiver for H...no one "makes" me

Now, this isn't about thriving, but about surviving. Thriving is another thing entirely and I'll write about what I think I need to do there some other time.


Aviva Goldfarb said...

I'm so sorry that you are living this nightmare. I'm glad that The Scramble can help you organize your meals to keep one thing a tiny bit simpler for you when all else is so challenging.

Y | O | Y said...


In the blog format, we don't get to see the whole picture. I'm glad to read you have taken such a wide approach to your own health. Of course, it doesn't erase the pain, but it sure makes it manageable.

As it turns out, I could take some lessons from you! :)

ChickPea said...

Always good to visit your blog, ASM - I miss you when I haven't.

As for seeking advice - well - it seems to me that your own heart holds a wealth of fine, sensible and loving care - and I hope you manage to step aside and read your blogs back to yourself. Allow yourself to be your own best friend - there is NO-ONE better qualified for the role.

Hugs, more hugs, and then a hug to follow...... x