What is the “consciousness phase” of care?
In the fifth intended stage of care on the Alzheimer’s path, we see a greater self-awareness of the caregiver and a growing awareness of how the progression of Alzheimer’s affects him or her and, of course, his or her loved one. The guardian has passed the initial phase – preparation and preparation of plans; accumulation phase – collection of resources and ancillary services; the settling-in phase—acclimatizing to the unique environment of Alzheimer’s disease, and then moving on to the awareness phase—realizing that things will never be the same for them or their loved ones.
As the caregiver continues to “journey” through the illness, a keen sense of awareness develops in daily tasks and responsibilities. This “phase of awareness” is characterized by the fact that “the change of time zones begins.”
Carers are growing tired and more aware of how their caregiver role is constantly changing, affecting their health, family, work, finances, social connections, etc. As caregivers struggle to meet the needs of everyone while neglecting their own they may not be able to articulate what is happening to them. They are still trying to incorporate all the new caregiving responsibilities into their “old life”.
In this “awareness phase” the caregiver’s internal resources are often depleted and the caregiver becomes aware of a decline in their personal health, whether through bouts of depression, irritability, decreased energy, and/or increased blood pressure. Ideological thinking leads the caregiver to believe that if he or she could only become more efficient or have more control, the journey would be better.
Also, during this stage, there is more focus on family dynamics and how responsibilities are shared, which often causes conflict, disagreement, and increased stress. Meeting with family and making care plans can be exhausting as the caregiver enlists the support of others to listen and help more. During this time, it is helpful for the caregiver to take a position of receptivity rather than anxiety when suggesting new ideas or ways to care for the affected person. Instead of being frustrated, caregivers and family members can generate curiosity by looking more at the underlying roots of the affected person’s actions and behaviors, as well as creative ways to communicate with each other and manage their loved one’s behavioral change. And, above all, everyone should encourage an atmosphere of openness and honesty. Instead of feeling sorry for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, for example, empower him or her, develop his or her strengths, and really look at the person behind the disease.
At this point in the awareness of leaving, things begin to open up more. Caregivers become “Jetlag”, prompting introspection of concerns about existence, relationship with God or a higher power, dealing with despair and hopelessness, grief and loss, guilt and shame, forgiveness and reconciliation, and growing withdrawal from close friends and isolation. from former social networks. This awareness leads the caregiver to a new and better understanding of themselves and their loved one and encourages the caregiver to explore new and meaningful ways to continue caring for the Alzheimer’s patient.
Questions about Alzheimer’s or related disorders can be directed to Dana Territo, author of the forthcoming book What My Grandchildren Taught Me About Alzheimer’s, at firstname.lastname@example.org.