From: National Caregiving Foundation
However, you handle the person under your care, whatever decisions you
make, you should bear in mind that you, too, have certain rights as a
The Right to Get Frustrated
If your loved one is sorely trying your patience, simply stop what you are
doing, take a deep breath, and do something else.
The Right to be Occasionally Impatient
Of course, it is pointless to show your impatience to the patient, since he
either will not understand or may feel hurt by your impatience. Try to
channel the feeling into more positive activity — talk it out with someone
neutral, do something physical like housework, or take a walk.
The Right to Want Time to be Alone
You’ll need to replenish your energy by sitting quietly, reading, or perhaps
going out with a close friend. A short nap can do a world of good in
restoring your composure.
The Right to Make Mistakes
Your judgment will take you only so far. The patient’s constantly changing
behavior will present challenges, some of which you will be unprepared to
cope with adequately the first time around. You’ll learn through trial and
error at each stage of the disease.
The Right to Ask for Help
You have limits, which you must respect for your own sake, as well as for
the patient’s. Don’t hesitate to call on family, friends, and community
resources for help. Your doctors and clergy can make referrals.
The Right to Grieve
It is not unusual for you to feel intense sadness even while your loved one
is alive, because so often he doesn’t seem to be the same person
The Right to Love, Laugh, and be Touched
You’ll still make real contact with your loved one, sometimes unexpectedly.
Be open to these special moments. There are still many riches in your
The Right to Hope
Never give up. While Alzheimer’s follows an inexorable course, there are
moments of lucidity, slight upturns that bring relief to patient and caregiver
alike. Learn to look for and gather strength from these moments.
Whatever you do, don’t despair. A cure for this difficult condition
will eventually be found. Perhaps during the lifetime of your loved one
effective treatment will become available. Keep in touch with your sources
of information, such as the National Caregiving Foundation, to find out
about the latest resources and help for caregivers and patients. Death is as
inevitable as birth. Care and compassion make us human.
In the meantime, know that there are many people out there who care
about you and want to help you and your loved one.
The Right to Have Fun
Like a tree without the sun for nourishment, without fun in your life you are
going to wither away. It is as important to have fun and recreate as it is to
do work and chores. Don’t discount it and don’t feel guilty if you enjoy
yourself from time to time. You are a person too and need to experience
the same pleasures as you wish for your care recipient. Make some
arrangements to go out to a movie or dinner or for a walk in the park. It’s
okay to have some fun.