DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ore. - It's tough to know how to react when a loved one starts to undergo brain change.
Parents have nine months to prepare to take care of a child. But when it comes to taking care of an elderly adult, people aren't ready until after it's already happening, and when that happens, it's hard to know what to do.
“When they're experiencing brain change, which is happening with dementia or health issues that are changing or life situations that are changing, we need to understand that they're having issues with that and that usually what they're doing is not on purpose,” said Shelly Edwards, an Oregon Care Partners Trainer.
It's important as a caregiver to understand what is happening and to treat them with respect. Don't take over their lives, work with them.
“We are in this together, right? So, we want to work with you, we don't want to do things to you, we want to do it with you,” Edwards said.
It's normal to get stressed or frustrated by this new responsibility of having to take care of a loved one.
“If they broke their leg, we would be a little more understanding that they can't walk as fast or something like that,” Edwards said. “But because we can't see what's going on in their brain, we don't understand why people are doing things.”
When that happens, it's important to take time out and take a breath. A stressed mind can lead to aggression and resentment.
If you live in Oregon or care for someone in Oregon and are feeling overwhelmed, Oregon Care Partners are offering free online and in-person classes to help