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

over 3 years, said...

I'm taking my mother in law this 21st of November to women of faith. I know this will be challenging time. Her grandaughter katie wheeler will be attending with us. My mother in law has alhimers for about 6 years she is in late stages . Please pray for us.

over 4 years, said...

what are the best active-links sessions for dementia-?

over 5 years, said...

Yes, to a certan degree. I still feel lost and helpless and with great candor, I must admit, that I also feel some anger at no longer having control over my own life. June S.

over 5 years, said...

It's a great strategy, but is not always the answer. One thing I have learned is over the last three plus years is that being flexable and going with each situation as it unfolds is the best way to handle things. Not one situation is the same and what may have worked yesterday may not work today and could some other day. All the information out there is great to have in you tool belt but I have found that they are guidelines and not the only answers to your individual situations or what's right for you personally. Be open to all suggestions and use just the ones you feel are right and trust your instinct.

almost 6 years, said...

The unknown is scary.