Caring for carers

Who cares for the carer?

I know what it’s like being a carer, especially for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s. My journey started at the tender age of 7 when my grandfather had a stroke. It probably was the catalyst for my interest in how the brain works.

Hypnotherapy can benefit carers of those who struggle with dementia or physical disability by helping take the person to a different place, using imagination and vivid descriptions. It might be the case that the carer can not take a break. Getting away from the person for any length of time may be impossible and relationships can get fraught and stressful.

Solution-focused hypnotherapy concentrates on how you want to feel and sometimes accept that the person they are caring for is changing and will carry on changing. I let them dictate how often they come and see me. Sometimes just a once a month or six week top -up is enough to manage the stress of what’s going on. It also helps when that person finally passes away. The support they receive helps them process the grief and they can adjust to their new life again.

If you have no family or friends around you, and being a carer, you need support. Whether that’s something you finance yourself, or find charities to help, or employ a carer to help for part of the time. Look after yourself first, before you have the spare capacity to look after others. Hypnotherapy MP3s can also be helpful in this situation, as you can share them with the person receiving care.

Case Study

Maggie is in her 60s and is married to Rolf, who has been losing his memory for months. He refuses to go to the GP and is driving Maggie mad. She approached me for stress management.

We discussed how the brain works and the variety of different types of memory loss, which needs full diagnosis, as with some medication can be used to slow the process down.

In the past, my uncle showed similar signs of memory loss while driving. He too wouldn’t see the GP, so I asked my aunt to see her doctor and create a rouse to bring him in for a checkup on his heart, hearing and blood pressure. Whilst they were going through that, his GP could see he had a problem and memory specialists gave the full diagnosis at the local hospital.

After Rolf lost things all over the house, he finally agreed he had a problem. They sort independent help as the waiting list near them was 6 months, and they concluded it was frontotemporal dementia. With Rolf’s problems, not only was he mislaying things but finding it frustrating that he couldn’t remember the names of things. Calling the cat a furry thing with four poles. Maggie found it confusing. But every week, when she brought a new episode that had happened, I could get her to see it in a new light. Taking the terribleness out of the situation helped her cope with it much better.

Care homes and care packages

Once she got into the swing of taking each day as it came and discussing things like getting care packages and problems she may face down the line, it prepared Maggie for what was to come.

When it was time when she really couldn’t look after him any more, she knew in her heart that she had done everything she could have done for him, before a care home took him in for the final stages of his life. She felt no remorse or guilt and could go through the grieving process better.

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