When the Caregiver Needs a Respite

Last week, Ann Ahnemouse, a fellow blogger dealing with a loved one with dementia, wrote a blog titled “Respite.”   Just the idea of taking a break from my parents has been dancing in my head now for days.

While my brother was in town and trying to really understand what was going on with my parents, we would continuously discuss what was happening. Having him in their space 24/7 and hearing what’s going on has been shocking, sad and tumultuous over the past few days.

I feel like I’ve been doing okay with what’s going on, but the past few days have been bruising. My parents are getting themselves into trouble and are blaming me for the issues that are occurring. I am the local one, so they must assume because I know what’s been happening that I’ve been causing their problems.

My mom forgets that she calls me and tells me much of what has happened. She’s usually rattled and just needs to tell someone. I’m never quite sure what is real and what is confabulated, but it’s not the ER or police calling so they made it through the event. However, she never remembers she told me so assumes I’m talking to the people around them.

I will admit to trying! Most know me and will share the story with me when they see me in person.

I’m getting angrier, and when I get mad, I disappear. It’s a pattern I have perfected over the past 4 decades. I need to be there for my parents, but I need to disappear for a few days to regain my strength.

When they see me daily, they don’t remember. The silver lining is that when they don’t see me for days, they won’t remember that either. Blistered.

5 thoughts on “When the Caregiver Needs a Respite

  1. Respite? What a lovely thought…
    My “escape” is taking a walk with my dogs (and venting to them!) or escaping into a book or video game for a while.
    My mom never remembers the kind things I do for her on a daily basis, but always finds fault with something I do or say… I’d just like a little respite from the negativity…

  2. Dear Kay,

    My husband and I liken living with dementia, and the person living or caring for someone living with dementia to running in a non-stop marathon! If you don’t take a rest or decent break – ‘respite’ -then your ‘blisters’ will just keep growing in rawness until you can no longer go on, and you will collapse.

    Rest, rest, rest… your parents may know you’ve been away for a bit, or they simply may not remember. Also, the break might mean they allow you to ‘help’ more when you get back.

    With love and hope, and a pillow!

  3. Taking a break in whatever way is possible is so important. A mental holiday (reading, gaming, or napping) is great – Taking even more time to reclaim and regenerate oneself is an important gift for all involved. The caregiver can give more care when they do not lose their ‘self’…
    We – especially women (in most cultures) – are so good at feeling guilty for not doing everything all the time but it’s important to realize that we are simply human.
    Just like our loved one who has this disease! Finding balance between their needs and our needs as people is crucial.
    I hope you can find the space to do this. Soon.

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