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How to Care for an Alzheimer's Patient and Maintain Good Health - Nurse Dougherty (VIDEO)

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Nurse Jan Dougherty shares how important it is for Alzheimer's caregivers to find time to care for their own health.

Nurse Dougherty:That’s really tough because I think women are used to carrying the burden and thinking they have to be all and do all, and I would suggest that they begin by giving themselves permission just for even ten minutes a day. And what are those ten minutes going to be, and then evaluating, how did that help you?

So we have for example, a lady right now who has literally been, kind of joined at the hip with her husband who realized she was not being a very effective caregiver. She was getting angry a lot and so she took our advice to simply begin taking an hour a week and in fact, she enrolled in the MAPS program, gave her permission two hours a week to leave her husband as a first part of getting better, if you will, and she has now given herself permission to take two hours and she made an appointment with her doctor, which was a good part of her self-care.

That doctor has now said, “I want you to meet with me every three months as part of you being well. We’re going to put the focus on you”. She has given herself permission to go shopping for two hours and she realizes that there are some consequences; I don’t want to make it sound like it was so easy. Sometimes her husband is angry and yet, she is learning that she is better. She is better for him; she is better for herself to go the long distance.

So it’s small increments, I think giving yourself and starting off with ten minutes, just take ten minutes to go out and take a deep breath, to take a walk around the neighborhood, to call a friend, ten minutes and evaluate, did that make you feel better?

About Nurse Dougherty, R.N., M.S.:
Registered Nurse Jan Dougherty is the director of family and community services at Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and has a master’s degree in gerontological nursing.

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