Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Connections Between Patient and Caregiver Mental Health

Excerpt from The Spiritual Journey of Family Caregiving:

I co-lead a support group for patients in the early stage of Alzheimer's Disease and their caregivers for the Alzheimer's Association in conjunction with Del Mar Caregiver Resource Center. One of the caregivers in the group had emergency surgery several weeks ago and almost died. When she returned she looked radiant. I had never seen her look so healthy and relaxed.

"I learned something wonderful!" she joyfully reported. She had been sick for a long time without realizing it. But now that she was healthy, rested and relaxed after a long enforced break from caregiving, her husband (the Alzheimer's patient) had improved! He wasn't cured by any means, but because he felt less nervous around her he was able to remember things more easily.

Her husband piped in at this point."It's important to feel confident around the person who takes care of you." He agreed that it made a big difference.

So, caregivers, take care of yourself! And don't be afraid to take a break when you need it.

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