And a 2nd One Thing

This is a continuation from last week….

What is the one thing that dementia caregivers should always keep in mind?

Of course, it’s the 2nd one thing, so it’s more than one thing. But hang with me here.

The one thing that caregivers should always keep in mind is to have an exit plan.

Yes, an exit plan.

I mean this in a few different ways.

Holidays. Parties. Gatherings. Church services. Social outings.

Maybe Grandma can’t stay at family Thanksgiving from 11am to 5pm. Maybe she’s done at 12. Make it possible for her to leave at 12. Have an exit plan.

Perhaps the church service is about 10 minutes too long for your husband with dementia. Sit close to the door. Duck out. Have an exit plan.

Warn friends that, although you’d love to come for dinner, it’s likely you can’t stay for dessert. Have an exit plan.

Social interaction is great until it isn’t great. And then you’re done.

In another way…have an exit plan as a care partner. Maybe it’s a physical exit plan. You visit your mom and her repeated questions make are unbearable for you. When you get to a point where you are frustrated and being less than kind, leave. Have an exit plan.

But I get it. Not every caregiver has the option to leave and come back later. Is it an option to call a friend or family member to cover for you? Is it an option to find a chore to do in another room? Is it an option to take a bath? Is it an option to walk into another room and take 10 deep breaths? Have an exit plan.

I know it’s not always that simple, but when you are stressed about an upcoming situation, ask yourself what your exit strategy is. And don’t second guess yourself when it’s time to put it into action.

No long goodbyes to a dozen relatives. Just slip out the backdoor.