Thursday, June 25, 2020

CG personalities in Alzheimer's and Dementia Care

After talking to many people about this I have to stop and think how my personal and my professional experiences with Alzheimer's and Dementia have changed my thoughts, my behaviors, and how I react to situations.
I used to have a type-A personality and even though I don't consider myself old, I can still change, you know why? Because that is the only constant thing in life change! I read that somewhere.
How our personalities change on this bumpy memory care road. Let's explore this a bit more:

The take-charge personality: Individuals instinctively seek control in most situations, caregiving can either turn them into rage driven frustrated people or can help them soothe their rough personalities. Handing all the issues that come along with caregiving in an overbearing super controlling mode can be difficult for anyone. It can be beneficial to you to repeat this mantra: Your loved one or patient is still a whole person, with reduced abilities but they are still able and at times very willing to perform small tasks. Please let them do so, it is important that they feel useful. Practicing being mindful, remember that empathy and dignity are important to all human beings more important than efficiency. Succeeding as a caregiver with this type of personality will eventually soothe the sharp edges of your strong personality. It will help you learn how to pick your battles when it comes to how tasks need to be handled. Not everything has to be perfect, learning to say "it's not the end of the world!'

The disorganized personality:
If your style is more laxed and easygoing about organization, being a caregiver will force you to find ways to be more organized and structured. The many unpredictable situations that come up when you are a caregiver means that you will have to find ways to achieve a balance and be more prepared in how you handle everything, from preparing meals, to going about daily routines and balancing a checkbook. You will end up graduating from complete disorganization and clutter to a person that knows what a POA (power of attorney) is and when you need to provide it. One that knows how to provide accurate information to the PCP (Primary Care Physician) one that actually has a complete med list upon request. learning that having all of the information in a folder in an organized manner will make things easier.

The quiet timid personality:
for the person that is nonconfrontational and naturally shy, you will probably have to learn to be more assertive in your caregiving journey. If your loved one is aggressive or combative you will find this incredibly difficult to resolve these situations. it can also be quite daunting for you if your spouse or parent has been the one with the dominating personality in the relationship.
Learning how to speak up and be the champion for your loved one can be quite difficult and scary. Especially since their wellbeing depends completely on you. Don't feel overwhelmed, try to adapt and change your tactics, change how you think. find your courage and inner strength to be able to better manage your loved ones' care, and practice being more assertive when you communicate with medical professionals, social workers, and other members of the medical team. Don't be timid, Believe in yourself, know that you are up to the task. Take baby steps with people that you feel most comfortable with. You will end up with a confident, stronger personality that is not afraid to advocate for the needs of their loved ones. Bravo!
    
Have I changed? You bet I have.
Have I learned anything new? where do I start?
Somehow when I talk to caregivers, we always end up on this topic, how their outlook in life has changed, and how they handle difficult situations. For me, I have learned to be patient, to listen, to enjoy the little things in life, to find humor in the most difficult of situations, I tend to have a very sarcastic sense of humor, I love puns and I'm Mexican, all of those combined is dangerous lol. I have learned to be prepared, to have several contingency plans, to be flexible, to adapt quickly to a fast-changing environment. No, I'm not writing my resume! although that could go on it. Most of all I'm very grateful for every day that I'm given on this earth, even right now with the many challenges that we have as a human race. I am blessed!

We are on this bumpy road together, you are not alone!
Be prepared, Be informed, Be empowered.
I send you lots of virtual good vibes. 

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