Quentin’s Old Girlfriend
Creates New Stress for Madelyn
In this episode of “Letters from Madelyn” my mother writes about caregiver stress on a number of levels. My dad can no longer manage the stairs at the church. She is frustrated with his incontinence and concerned about his increased mental confusion. As his class reunion approaches, he becomes obsessed with seeing Avis, the girl he took to his high school senior prom.
Madelyn’s poor health and physical exhaustion are contributing to her stress, and when she finally realizes that her increased aches and pains are probably related to depression, she starts taking her little “mood enhancer” again. (For more information on Clinical Depression, please click on this link to my website: CaregiverHelp Depression Module.
If I were reading my mother’s letters today for the first time, I would know how to find help for my parents. It’s unfortunate that at that time, the only thing I knew how to do was listen and empathize.
If you are caring for someone who has suffered a stroke or who has Alzheimer’s or some other dementia-related disease, get as much information and education as you possibly can. Attend conferences, join a support group, and do some research online. Understanding that erratic behavior and inappropriate comments are often a symptom of the disease won’t change their behavior, but it could reduce your caregiver stress and help you manage the situation more appropriately. (More on that in upcoming chapters.)
Click here to listen to Chapter 14 – “Quentin’s Class Reunion”