The impact of epilepsy on Robert is that he has declined to the point of needing assistance with his daily living tasks. He is incontinent but isn’t aware (or concerned) if his pants get wet. He’s told me before, “they’ll be dry by morning.”
Um, he needs a little . . . guidance when it comes to staying clean and taking care of himself.
|Richard and I make a pretty good team|
Richard and I are that “guidance.” We make sure he gets his medication on time, wears clean clothes, eats balanced meals (with a few treats thrown in).
We are responsible for Robert and whether Richard’s back pain flares up or I have a busy week at work, the responsibilities stay the same. When Richard and I are not at the top of our game, we have to make adjustments to our regular schedule.
As it happens, this has been a horrendous week at work and I now have a cold. It isn’t anything serious but it has me down enough to wish I could come home from work and snuggle under the covers with the dogs. I would love to not make any decisions or have any responsibilities.
Instead, we have to make adjustments. Obviously, Robert still needs care but there are short-cuts we can take without jeopardizing his health or safety or happiness.
It’s okay if we get Robert ready for bed a little earlier than normal. After all, he is perfectly happy watching his shows and working on his word search. I know he is safe in his bed and can monitor his seizures by watching him on the camera we set up.
Our Friday night dinner out might need to be turned into Friday night take-out.
If there is a more long-term issue of Richard or I being sick, then we have a back-up plan. We have a wonderful facility that we use for respite care and we would be able to take Robert there if an emergency arose. (Richard’s hospitalization last year comes to mind – if he had to stay longer than a few days I would have used the facility for a short-term stay for Robert.)
Every now and then the caregiver will get sick and adjustments will need to be made. It is always good to prepare for these situations and have a back-up plan in place before an actual emergency.
As far as caring for the mental health of the caregiver, I highly recommend the caregiving support website www.CareGiving.com. It is a terrific community of other caregivers and since it is an online community it is accessible at all times.
Even when you just want to snuggle under the covers!