|He is right here but yet he is gone!|
Does that make sense?
If you have not watched a loved one slowly lose their mind you might not understand why I lose patience so easily. My husband was a very, very smart man. He was a design engineer. And very organized. A type A personality. He knew how to fix anything. And if he didn't know how, then he certainly knew where to go find out how. The hardest thing I have ever been through in my entire life is suffering through the dementia that comes along with his Parkinson's disease.
He doesn't remember anything. If you tell him something there is a good chance he will ask the same question again in 20 minutes. And then he will remember. Only to forget it again tomorrow. You never know how much he is taking in. And how much he is keeping. Or what is sliding right on through his memory. And it is frustrating to the caregiver.
He remembers that he needs to go to the bathroom. But lots of times he forgets to tell me soon enough. And that is frustrating. And I lose patience. And sometimes I yell. And then I hate myself afterwards because I lost patience with him. But, with the magic of dementia, usually he forgets it. But I wonder if bits of it stays in his mind.
I was reading an article once on practicing patience with my husband on a site all about caregiver stress. Some of the suggestioons for dealing with impatience were:
- Breathe! Now that sounds simple enough. We all have to breathe, don't we. But force yourself to stop and take 3 deep breaths before you react.
- Count to 10! I used to do this with my kids. Ha! Sometimes I count really fast
- Remember what you want from this relationship! You might want the relationship to be one of trust, respect, support. The author suggests writing yourself little notes to remind you what you want so that when you start to lose patience you can see the reminders
- Take time to think about what you will say about this period of your life. After he is gone will I be happy with how I took care of him? Will I remember the impatient times?
- The Golden Rule....Do unto others.
- Think of someone you know who has the patience of a saint. Ask yourself 'what would they do?'
- Look at the situation through Richard's eyes. If I could stop and do this I am sure that I would find my patience really fast. He doesn't want to be like this. He doesn't want to have Parkinson's disease. He would much rather be outside raking the garden.
- Take a break! This is the hardest one for me to do. But I must find a way. I know that he can be cared for by others. I must learn to relinquish control
- Take care of Yourself! Another hard one for me. But I am working on it.
- Make sure you have social support. Talk with others who are in your situation. Find a support group. Talk with friends. Talk with family.
In the end, the author, gives the best advice of all. Forgive yourself. You are only human. Good advice. What advice would you have for me?