Sylvia’s story may help you. Sylvia spent many years taking care of her father with AD, and although her life surrounded his needs and wants, she always managed to take care of herself as well. How did she find the time? Where did she get the willpower?
She explained it very well. “I do my back exercises every morning. If my back hurts, I can’t help him.” Sylvia brought her father to day-care 4 days a week. This allowed her to continue her weekly trips to the beauty parlor, and even treat herself to a Wednesday afternoon show or movie with her friends once or twice a month.
“Each and every day I see another piece of my father slipping away – his memories, his skills, and his ability to do the things he used to do. Taking a break from caregiving while he’s in day-care and focusing on other topics with my friends helps me to step back a little and clear my mind. Then I can remember him as he was when he played the piano, when we could have a conversation, and when he remembered me as his daughter. Those are the memories I want to keep forever.”
With an Alzheimer’s parent, you will experience many profound losses. But you can and you must help yourself. Try to keep your special memories in your heart and nourish them by remembering to care for your own mind, body, and spirit.