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Alzheimer's Disease Caregivers - Education Modules

A Woman's Work: Taking Time for Self

Author: Cheryl E. Gies, DPN, APRN, CNP

The old phrase "a woman's work is never done" takes on a whole new meaning for you as a woman who is caring for of a loved one with Alzheimer's disease (AD). You are in good company because most caregivers of persons with (AD) are women. As your loved one's memory and ability to perform daily tasks fades, your caregiving responsibilities become more complex. Tasks that used to take minutes may now take hours, leaving little time for you to relax and regain your strength.

Unfortunately, you may think that you can and should handle all the work yourself and you may resist asking for help. Maybe you do not know who to ask or you do not want to "bother" your friends and family. Trying to do everything alone is not in your best interest because eventually, you will feel overwhelmed, lonely and develop health problems. One of the best ways of dealing with the demands of caregiving is to maintain private time.

This module is designed to help you recognize that taking time for yourself everyday is just as important as the wonderful care work you do for your loved one. Your care work will continue to be demanding, but by taking time to take care of yourself, you may experience a feeling of satisfaction because you are emotionally, mentally and physically strong.

Learning Objectives:
Using this module will help you to:
  1. Recognize the need to care for yourself
  2. Identify three activities that you enjoy
  3. Plan one "me" activity each day
  4. Consider support resources

Presenter:

Cheryl GiesCheryl Gies, DPN, APRN, CNP

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Presentation Notes:

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Web Links to Help You Take Care of Yourself:

1. How are you doing?
Complete this survey to see how you are doing: 
http://web.mit.edu/workplacecenter/hndbk/docs/questionnaire.pdf

2. Taking time for yourself
Click on this link to read "Taking Care of Yourself"
https://www.caregiver.org/taking-care-you-self-care-family-caregivers

3. Relaxation

a. Meditate
Click on the link below then click the start arrow at the bottom left of the black video box
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/meditation/MM00623

Click on this link
Meditation: A simple, fast way to reduce stress (PDF) 

b. Yoga
Click on the link below then click the start arrow at the bottom left of the black video box
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/yoga/MM00650

c. Stress reduction
Click on the link below and read “3 Tips to manage stress” 
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/StressManagement/FourWaystoDealWithStress/Four-Ways-to-Deal-with-Stress_UCM_307996_Article.jsp#.WkrRLN-nGUk

Click on the link below for “Stress Manangement”
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/tai-chi/art-20045184?p=1 

Click on this link
Mental Stress ((PDF)

d. Listen to Music
Click on this link
Music for a Healthy Mind and Body (PDF)

4. Journaling
Click on this link:
Reduce Stress by Journaling (PDF)

5. Exercise
Click on this link for the booklet "Be Active Your Way: A Guide for Adults"
http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/pdf/adultguide.pdf

Click on this link and scroll down the page to a selection of video offerings of your choice
http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/videos/index.html

Click on this link for “Exercise is key to Healthy Aging” 
https://medlineplus.gov/magazine/issues/winter15/articles/winter15pg2-3.html

6. Nutrition
Click on these links for information on Nutrition
https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/heart-healthy-eating

http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6805

http://www.healthywomen.org/content/article/eating-beat-stress-and-depression?
context=ages-and-stages/13&context_title=&context_description=

7. Support Services

a. How to choose an Adult Day Care center
Click on this link
https://www.nadsa.org/consumers/choosing-a-center/  

Adult Day Care
Click on this link
https://www.nadsa.org/consumers/  

b. Helping Hands
Click on this link
http://www.lotsahelpinghands.com/

c. Choosing a home care worker
Click on this link
https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/home-care/info-2017/paid-caregivers.html?intcmp=AE-CAR-CAH-R2-C1

d. Family mediators
Click on this link
How to choose an Elder Mediator

Other Resources to Read:

References:

Calasanti, T. & King, N. (2007). Taking "women's work" "like a man": Husbands' experiences of care work. The Gerontologist, 47(4), 516-527.

Cuesta-Benjumea (2009).  The legitimacy of rest: Conditions for the relief of burden in advanced dementia care-giving.

Hayes, J., Zimmerman, M.K. & Boylstein, C. (2010). Responding to symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease: Husbands, wives,and the gendered dynamics of recognition and disclosure. Qualitative Health Research, 20(8), 1101-1115.

National Women’s Health Report (n.d.). Women & Caregiving.  National Women’s Health Resource Center. http://www.healthywomen.org/

Nichols, L.O., Martindale-Adams, J., Greene, W.A., Burns, R., Graney, M.J. & Lummus, A. (2006). Dementia caregivers’most pressing concerns. Clinical Gerontologist, 32, 1-14.

Pinquart, M., & Sorensen, S. (2006). Gender differences in caregiver stressors, social resources, and health: An updatedmeta-analysis. Journal of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences & Social Sciences, 61B(1), 33-45.

Last Updated: 6/30/19