When a family member has Alzheimer’s disease in Kenya; often times it seems as though a bomb as been dropped into the family to scatter everyone. People vanish. And only the very strong ones; and those that have no choice, who tiptoe back to view how matters stand.
Truth is, if the person with Alzheimer’s is the family pillar; which is often the case(mothers, fathers, grandparents, older siblings), woe to the bystanders. Those that used to receive command from this one stand listlessly waiting for direction on what next.
Those that have their wits about them and have more heart than all of us cowards; stagger at the new responsibility of finding out just how different, how difficult the foreseeable future seems to be.
How not to Reel Over
Remember you are not the first to ever give care to an ALZ patient. So listed are a few pointers gleaned from the ALZKenya.org support group meeting, to help you find balance in your new capacity as the care giver.
Psalms 18:6.Ask for help from the one that understands stuff which no one else can. He will give you wisdom which will prove to be an asset in the coming days.
- Involve other concerned members who genuinely want to assist.
Call that meeting, don’t postpone it. But you will need to be firm; unless you like to put up with rubbish without going insane. Suggestions are welcome but interference in your care methods are a no no. Are they ready to take over? No? Then may they kindly SHUT UP and let you do your job.
- Get a backbone (borrow, lease, buy, or make one out of lead).
You will be with the patient every day, they will tell tales and prefer some family members despite you constant care. You know how much; emotionally, financially is required every day. A backbone will also be also useful when dealing with friends who will think:
- Your family member is bewitched
- Has lost their mind
- Meddled with someone’s property and now facing consequences.
If they have nothing positive to say, don’t be afraid to hurt their feelings by explaining how unnecessary their visits are.
- Spare your money.
You will need to stretch your money longer. Find an accountant to value the patient’s property and help you budget. Avoid impromptu buys or treatment expenditures. Constant cash will be required for cleaning detergent, helpers, proper diet, transport and drugs.
- Get a caretaker.
There is comfort in knowing your are doing your sick family member service by being their sole caretaker, but you need help. You need breaks and rests and get-a ways. A trained caretaker will even do a better job than you could accomplish with all your other responsibilities.
- Open your heart wide and love your dear one.
They will thank you in their own way. In spite of downtime, you will get the satisfaction of doing all you can, and you will know you have their confidence by the trust and value they will show towards you.
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard