Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dealing with Alzheimer's Stress Levels

It's no surprise that popular Alzheimer's websites like offer free stress checks for Alzheimer's caregivers. It's the most stressful thing I've ever done. And it's emotionally draining. Don't get me wrong, I want to be here. I made that choice and will take care of Pat for as long as I am able, but it's still stressful at times.

Life is full of stressors without Alzheimer's in the mix and bottom line, Alzheimer's doesn't stop for colds, headaches, bedtime or other stressors. It knows no boundaries.

Something that my mother has told me a thousand times comes to mind right now: You can only control yourself and your reactions. And that is so true. I may be able to curb Pat's reactions but not all the time. It needs to start with me. The calmer I am with Pat, the easier she calms down or accepts what I have told her as truth.

Sometimes my calming voice doesn't reach her, but still if I control my demeanor around her, it helps me too. I used to be a telemarketer and the biggest technique taught to us was the most basic, smile before you call. If you just take the time to smile instead of react, it relieves the tension and opens the door for a positive attitude.

So remember, when it gets tough, smile. Fake it at first if you have to. Remind yourself, you can only control your actions. And you are only responsible for your actions. Do your best and leave the rest!

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