Being a physically healthy, well supported and informed caregiver does not necessarily mean you are or will always be a confident caregiver. Diseases which cause dementia symptoms are most frequently neurodegenerative, which means, they decline over time. This should not mean YOU also need to decline over time.
Protecting your health and preventing additional strain requires continuous and intentional maintenance, training and development of learned skills for responding to symptoms, obstacles and most importantly, the challenge of taking care of yourself over many years, alongside your family member. This gets quite tricky as the challenges and difficult decisions that arise and need to be navigated are not always predictable or timely. While we can anticipate certain changes, it is often hard to predict when they may arise and so a hyper-vigilant stress response replaces a healthier calm, confident and prepared approach to the unknown.
We all want to feel prepared and strong, ready and resilient, calm and confident in the midst of challenges in our caregiving roles. We also benefit from knowing how to respond and cope when we inevitably feel frustrated, confused and sad for ourselves (and for the person in our care). Thankfully, there is a lot we can do to foster these qualities. While we cannot avoid or evade difficulty, we can equip ourselves with the tools, skills and resources we need to navigate the unexpected confidently and calmly.
Meeting regularly with and learning from other caregivers and experts in wellness will bolster your strength and support your desire to live well. The following programs are available to help you develop a toolkit for confident caregiving.