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CARENOTES / Past Carenotes / Discussion Forum / Let's Talk

Carenotes

Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 04/16/09

My husband has had mini stokes and lost his short-term memory. He also takes a great deal of medication that may be affecting him (the doctor doesn't think so). Some of the things he does irritate me even though I know he cannot help what he is/isn't doing. His driving judgment is poor and fortunately, lets me do most of the driving. I can't get him to read or do puzzles to sharpen his mind. He acts helpless most of the time and I keep feeling he should be able to do more. His contribution to household chores is washing the dishes and occasionally cooking simple meals. What can I do to get him more active and improve his memory?

As much as I love him (married 22 years), I find it difficult at times to control my anger. I lose my temper, but walk away, bite my tongue and cool down after a while. But he knows I'm angry and that depresses him more.

I have a few local friends, but it is difficult for them to really understand the situation. I do activities (knitting, gardening) to keep me occupied. It's my increasing short temper that bothers me.

Any suggestions?





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Name: Sherry Barber
Location: Southern California
Date: 04/16/2009
Time: 06:56 AM

Comments

Take a look at FlyLady.net and see if any of her general methods would help in your situation. I have found great value in setting a timer and promising myself I get to quit a project after 15 minutes. No more crash and burn.


Name: Jane
Location: Kansas City
Date: 04/16/2009
Time: 06:56 AM

Comments

Oh, does this sound familiar! My husband too has lost his memory and lacks initiative for doing tasks that are still within his abilities. There are several things that come to mind that might help. Number one is to look for an adult day care center near you. The ones for dementia patients keep their charges very busy during the day -- lots of stimulation and activity! The plus is that you have some time alone. Your husband can go half days or full days, from one day a week to 5. They are very flexible. Of course, my husband would say he hated it, but I noticed that when he went in he would be happy and glad to be there! The next thing is to find a support group for caregivers who are dealing with many of the same issues you confront. We all have moments when the frustrations get to be too much for us and we blow up at our loved one. Don't beat yourself up for it. Find a group where others can help you decide how to respond differently, and support you when you run out of patience. The third thing is to find more friends who are willing to help you. We all think we can do this caregiving thing alone. We can if we want to get sick and not be available to help our loved one! Be creative: look for people who are willing to help your husband do something he enjoys and people who can take him out for short trips -- again, you need some down time. Look for people who share your interests. If you can leave your husband alone for an hour or 2, be the catalyst to start a knitting group. Hope some of this helps. We do a difficult job. We need all the help we can get! Good luck!


Name:
Location:
Date: 04/16/2009
Time: 07:07 AM

Comments

How about a puzzle. I do one online everyday at aarp and love it. I had suggested one for my mom, but she's not at a point where she can do it now. A friend suggested you put a tablecloth on the dining room table, put the puzzle on it, then when dinner is served, just toss another one right on top of the puzzle. I bet if you bought one, then just started doing it - he'd join in...


Name:
Location:
Date: 04/16/2009
Time: 07:44 AM

Comments

It sounds like you need a break ASAP. There are places you could take your husband for a respite stay where he could stay a weekend or longer. There is also adult day services available and a most of them have transportation. You could do that a few days a week or up to 5 days. You could also get help to come into the home. Your local area agency on aging would be a good place to start to ask for help.


Name: Terri Corcoran
Location: Falls Church, VA
Date: 04/16/2009
Time: 08:24 AM

Comments

Have you heard of the Well Spouse Association, the national peer-to-peer organization offering emotional support to spousal caregivers, through various resources. Please visit www.wellspouse.org. I am a "well spouse", and I understand what you are going through - Well Spouse Assn. has helped me so much! I wish you happier days.


Name: Mary
Location: Wisconsin
Date: 04/16/2009
Time: 08:49 AM

Comments

My husband of 27 years is also a stroke survivor with short term memory loss. He loves to read and has an electronic crossword puzzle game he can work with just one hand. (His left side is paralyzed.) He too doesn't do much around the house, though he didn't before his stroke either, as he worked 50+ hour weeks, etc. I have found that my own attitude and patience is influenced by two things. First, how much time I allow myself to concentrate on me. When I allow my life situation to run me, I start to resent it and I get more annoyed with my husband and his inability to help. You need to find a way to not lose your personal identity. You can't just be the caregiver. Others here have given you good advice on how to carve out that free time and eventually you will not feel selfish about it, but instead renewed by it. The second thing is education or knowledge. I have found my attitude and patience is better when I stay educated about my husband's condition. I'm one who functions better when I know what to expect and I understand that my husband's limitations and why he is the way he is. Reminding myself that many of his actions, or lack there of, are a result of a brain injury, not anything else. Read all you can about his particular remaining brain function and it may help you to deal with it better.


Name: Gary
Location: Hawaii
Date: 04/16/2009
Time: 10:30 AM

Comments

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to locate a moderated Caregiver Support Group. It helps tremendously to be with others who know what frustrations and emotions can do to a Caregiver. Your husband would benefit from a stroke support group as well and/or a day activity group that gets him out of the house. Talk to your doctor about the use of anti-depressants as well.



Name: Linda
Location: Michigan
Date: 04/22/2009
Time: 11:24 AM

Comments

Mary, you sound very much like me. I'm my mother's caregiver, had a wonderful husband & a beautiful 12-yr. old daughter. Knowing more about my mother's Alzheimer's & other health conditions makes dealing with the symptoms SOOO much easier. May I borrow your words: Others here have given you good advice on how to carve out that free time and eventually you will not feel selfish about it, but instead renewed by it. For this carenote writer, I would also HIGHLY recommend a support group and making time for yourself. I find that journaling helps me sort out my emotions & release stress. You have to take care of yourself so you can take care of your husband. Good luck, and may God Bless all caregivers.


 







 

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