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Having a 'Back Up Plan'

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Caring for someone with memory loss can be an exercise in patience. There are days when the same question has been asked twenty five times. This is not an exaggeration, rather in some households the norm. Many family caregivers have learned the art of redirection. And then there is a day when even that does not work. Many a caregiver has a bag of activities which are the ‘go to’ bag when all else is failing.
Here is the problem, although there is no way for the partner with loss of memory to know they are doing this; the care partner is experiencing a shorter and shorter stress level. This is when the caregiver has just reached the maximum amount of repeats and redirection they can go through.
Caregivers need a ‘back-up plan’ for what to do when they reach this point. And make no mistake this time will come, maybe when least expected. This means the plan needs to be in place first.
The back-up plan can be as simple as calling a family member or friend and saying I need ‘the plan’ in place now. It is interesting how quickly we do this for new moms who may experience a baby crying for hours on end or repeatedly waking through the night; but forgetting this is the same type of stress caregivers feel. The difference is caregivers have had more experience learning how to deal with stress, which also means, should a caregiver call and ask for the plan to be in place right now, they truly need it, now. They have allowed the stress to build to a breaking point.
Family and caregivers must institute this plan themselves. We need to have this safety net waiting for the string to be pulled. We do not need a long respite; we need a few hours to do some self-care. Should we need longer than a few hours, we need to have a Respite Plan to fallow back on. This plan is especially important should we become ill.



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