Keeping the Family Caregiver Emotionally Healthy

2015-07-07-1436283329-2361075-yogamatpink1.jpgphoto courtesy of morguefile

There is nothing about Alzheimer's that is easy. Not for the person who has the disease, nor the person caring for them. Changes are happening sometimes at lightning speed and at other times seems to creep slowly forward like lava from a volcano. Swallowing everything in its path.

There is nothing left that it doesn't touch. It can leave you feeling raw and exposed. The changes in the parent/child relationship are catastrophic. It is cut in two much like the umbilical cord during birth.

The child will become the caregiver/parent and the emotions from this change may not become apparent at first. As time goes on it will become more and more prevalent. Some days will be worse than others. As the disease progresses it will get much, much worse.

All of your lives you have a certain relationship with you parents. They came first and have been in charge since the day you were born. All of sudden this changes and you have to take charge. It will feel awkward to both of you. If you are one of the lucky ones, your parent will accept these changes easily if not they will fight you every step of the way.

Some days THEY will fight this change and then other days YOU will. Your parents have been your port in the storm, your support, and your sounding board. In most families they are your biggest supporters, cheerleaders, and fans. Once you realize that this is no longer your reality it will break your heart.

You will miss this relationship more than you know. You will become the supporter and their port in the storm. They will come to you with their problems large and small. The trick is to find the people who can offer you the support that you are now missing and need so desperately. It may be one person or a group of people, but leaning on somebody during this excruciating, emotionally charged time can be a life saver. Sixty percent of caregivers suffer from depression. Having the right support system can help you avoid these pitfalls and make all the difference in the world. Alzheimer's destroys the patient's life in the end. but the trick is not to let it destroy the caregiver's life as well.

Keeping yourself emotionally healthy is very important. You can't be a good caregiver without emotional wellness. Having support, regular respite and confidence in your decisions will make all the difference in the world to both the caregiver and the patient. Keep something back for yourself at times.

testPromoTitleReplace testPromoDekReplace Join HuffPost Today! No thanks.