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How to Reduce Stress

Here is a great article on how to reduce and handle stress as someone caring for an Alzheimer’s senior.

Alzheimer’s Communication, Take a Few Deep Breaths

When my mother would say something mean, nonsensical or just downright crazy it would bring up emotions like anger in me immediately. Imagine a person being very mean to you and how you might feel. Since I was raised in a feisty Italian-American family it was not unusual for my “temper” to flair.

When I moved to Delray Beach, Florida to take care of my mother one of my most difficult problems was learning how to communicate with her. If you are caring for a person suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia you know how difficult this can be. When my mother would say something mean, nonsensical or just downright crazy it would bring up emotions like anger in me immediately. Imagine a person being very mean to you and how you might feel.

Since I was raised in a feisty Italian-American family it was not unusual for my “temper” to flair. If I reacted the way I had in the past my mother would either get “meaner”, or she would go into her room and stay there for hours on end often refusing to speak. I would end up with a pain in my stomach and a range of feelings that included a sense of hopelessness. I realized during those first days that I needed to learn how to deal effectively with this new, unfamiliar, communication with my mother.

The first thing I decided to do was work very hard to learn a new set of skills to deal with these situations. I learned to label (identify) and accept my initial feelings. What was I feeling: anger, frustration, confusion, sadness or a combination of all of these feelings? I found that by identifying my feelings I could corral and contain them. Then, I could deal with my mother and the situation at hand.

Once I had my mother settled, I would go into a separate room and let my feeling come to the surface. First identify, second feel, and third dismiss these feeling as part of the sometimes craziness called Alzheimer’s disease. I knew my mother didn’t mean what she was saying, and I knew from my previous 50 years with her that she would never say or do the things she was doing if she could help it. As I was learning this new behavior, I read an article about taking a “few deep breaths”. I tried it. Before I knew it, I was able to use this technique to blow away all the bad feelings and find myself relieved.

In other words, I was able to quickly reduce stress that always comes while dealing with a person living with dementia. I also learned to take a few deep breaths once the communication episode with my mother was starting. This really helped me get in focus and reminded about what needed to be accomplished. The task at hand. READ FULL STORY.

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