What is the coping phase of withdrawal?
After the “awareness” phase of caring—experiencing jet lag, so to speak, the next phase of caring is coping; more like a feeling of loneliness in a “foreign country”.
The isolation that accompanies Alzheimer’s disease is hard. Teachers feel invisible. According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology (2017), social isolation can lead to depression, memory and attention problems, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. And, most importantly, caregivers and their loved ones have been hit hard by the quarantine during the COVID-19 lockdown, hurting them in many ways.
This phase of transcending the caregiver path finds the caregiver in a “strange” realm of social isolation. Jill Gafner Livingston, author of The Personal Positioning of Carers, notes in her workshops, “Caregiver isolation is not about being stuck at home or not having free time. It’s personal. It’s internal. The soul of the educator is sad, and there are so many emotions in it, primarily guilt. She suggests breaking the chain of isolation and negative inner feelings by inviting friends over to connect, starting the day with encouraging thoughts, saying something positive to a stranger you meet, avoiding negative self-talk, and seeking support from other caregivers. Lack of meaningful experiences that inspire the caregiver can lead to lower self-esteem or even a desire to be busy, which in turn can lead to an apathetic and resentful caregiver.
To help deal with this “loneliness” on the unknown journey of Alzheimer’s, caregivers should strive to better understand the reality of their own expectations. Unrealistic expectations, which are often set too high in order to achieve excellence, can leave caregivers exhausted, frustrated and overwhelmed. For example, a caretaker’s house doesn’t have to be constantly cleaned and organized immaculately, and it’s okay if his loved one left home for a meeting in different socks. Achieving a sense of balance and acceptance and appreciating small successes can make carers more comfortable and relieve the stress of caring for their loved ones. In addition, learning more about Alzheimer’s, especially how to manage communication and behavioral strategies, can give caregivers the confidence and self-confidence to deal with the day-to-day challenges of caring for their loved ones.
The caregiver at this coping stage has developed humility with this new routine, but seeks help trying to adjust, even if he doesn’t know how. More attention is paid to the needs of caregivers, sometimes as stress levels peak and take their toll on the caregiver’s health. At this stage of coping, it is very important that the caregiver build and use a care team to support and support them. In addition, having a sense of hope provides support and strength to maintain quality of life and contributes to the well-being of the caregiver and his or her loved one. Learning to cope with the demands of caregiving, as well as enjoying pleasurable activities together, remembering and staying flexible are all ways in which a caregiver can get through this “getting through” phase of care.