Knowledge Is Power: 3 Ways to Plan Ahead When You're a Severe-Stage Caregiver

Did you know that one of the ultimate causes of stress is uncertainty? Not knowing what lies ahead can eat at your very soul, if you let it. "Knowledge is power" is more than a cliche. It's a life raft, especially for dementia caregivers. What helps: Find out what lies ahead in the course of this awful disease. You may think you don't want to know, but you'll be stronger when the time comes.

How to do this?

  • First, collect as much information as you can about what to expect. Read (or reread) the Caregiver's Guide to Mid Severe-Stage Dementia as well as the Caregiver's Guide to Late Severe-Stage Dementia.

  • Second, collect experiences. Find out what others in the same situation went through. Ask those in your Stage Group as well as others you meet who have lost loved ones to Alzheimer's. Their stories may not be exactly the same -- and their advice might not always be transferable. But it may light up some of the dark corners of the unknown that you're now facing.

  • Third, accept that you can't know, or control, everything. Knowledge can help you plan ahead, mull possibilities, and be less frightened when changes occur. But there are limits, too, and it's useful to be aware of this.

Paula Spencer Scott

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers and much of the Alzheimer's and caregiving content on Caring. See full bio