As featured in North Hawaii News April 21, 2015
What would you do if you had a clone with whom you could switch places with at any given moment? I personally would love to have another me who was spending hours each day reading books on different topics such as dementia, business growth, personal development, parenting and health.
In order to maintain my current fully-lived life as a mother, business owner and professional caregiver and still get enough sleep to remain mentally healthy, it seems like I would have to have another version of myself in order to accomplish it all. My clone would lounge under a palm tree on the beach all day and absorb information from the above variety of books. The knowledge would instantly be transmitted into my psyche and I’d become wiser by the minute.
In the reality of our existence, however, it is up to us to carve out windows of time to educate and enrich our own minds amidst the fullness of our daily schedules. If you are caring for aging parents or a spouse, the desire for a clone who lives a parallel life may be greater than any of us.
Since a clone isn’t an option, I hope you have assembled a support team made up of friends and family members who can help you provide the best care possible. Their contributions may feel similar to having a pit crew, ready to change your tires and check your engine as you earn lap after lap of caregiver miles.
I’d like to help fuel your team with information to help keep your efforts energized. Thanks to my Wow! Biz Book Club, I came across Tiffany Chow M.D. She works at Big Island Comprehensive Neurological Services in Kona, wrote a book called “The Memory Clinic” and has created a wonderful online resource that helps family caregivers have access to large amounts of quality information on dementia and brain health.
If you google “When Dementia is in the House,” you will come to a website that Dr. Chow helped create which has powerful information to support family members of all ages who honorably care for a relative with dementia. This woman has really got her finger on the pulse of dementia care and understanding.
I was very touched by some information Dr. Chow has under her Special Challenges section entitled “Finding Help Outside of Your Family.” There are suggestions that a husband wrote up for family and friends in which he prepares them for his wife’s behavior and explains why she does some of the things that may seem disturbing without proper understanding.
I hope this offers you some special insights into your own situation. If you click on Dr. Chow’s name under the “About Us” section you’ll be taken over to her Chow lab page on Bayside Research Clinic and will even find an activity book for young child caregivers. Her website is a gem in a sea of information about dementia. You may have friends who have been through the caregiving experience and who offer insights as well.
Please remember that you will need various sources of information to assist you on your journey. I refer to dementia as the “Snowflake Disease.” It does not affect any one person in the exact same way and there will be a variety of treatments that will best suit your loved one’s situation.
Please be very cautious about friends’ advice and run all supplements and OTC (over the counter) medications past your physician. I have heard of some very interesting remedies that worked well for one person yet caused another individual to become worse. There are also adverse reactions to consider if you are combining natural remedies with prescribed ones.
I also, again, strongly encourage you to participate in the Powerful Tools for Caregivers workshop at Tutu’s House which begins on April 28. I was happy to speak with a family caregiver who will be utilizing our offer to care for her loved one while she attends the course. It was encouraging to speak with an individual in her early caregiving role, gathering information and preparing her pit crew for the adventure ahead.
When olive branches are offered to you, as a caregiver, please seriously consider taking them. Unless, of course, you have found a way to create a clone to live a parallel life for you. In that case, please contact me immediately and tell me your secret!