Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Don't Forget the Caregivers
In my last blog, I talked about the different emotional sides of the people who suffer from aphasia. While this is a very relevant topic, it is just as important to discuss the emotional sides of a caregiver. I mentioned last time the man who had severe expressive aphasia (unable to get most of his words out) but was still very happy and positive even though he really couldn't communicate. Well, it was a different story when I met his wife. She came in to talk with me and she was the farthest from joyful and positive. She was completely overwhelmed. Here she had her husband who had supported her financially, who was extremely intelligent, but now couldn't get across the most basic thought. Her role in life had completely changed. Everything, and I mean everything, was now her responsibility. She was in the process of fighting insurance companies for more visits, paying all the bills, taking care of all his appointments, taking him to all his appointments (he can't drive now), taking care of his business (he was a successful business owner), and the list goes on and on. Who could blame her for being overwhelmed! Then there is also the personal side of it. She had "lost" the man she used to carry on conversations with. Who she could converse with whenever she needed his advice or just to hear how his day was. Now all their conversations are one-sided. He can listen and understand everything, but is unable to respond, unable to interact with her. So caregivers, allow yourself to mourn. What has happened is not fair. This has probably affected you as much as your loved one. So as easy as it is to tell yourself to "be strong", allow yourself to mourn what has happened. Don't be hesitant to ask others for help either. And finally, find a support group. You need an outlet, someone to talk to that understands your pain. Best wishes to you all.