This is a common refrain. A caregiver asks Dr. Cate for dementia guidance. I answer a specific question and then outline strategic plans they may want to consider. The response is always “We are not there yet.”
The question to ask yourself is “where is there?” When your relationship is enough overwhelmed with brain change to ask for help—where are you? As a caregiver myself, I hear myself saying “not there yet”. This is an answer that comes from my desire to be anywhere but here—and my fear of there. It is my fear of financial struggle, and my fear of needing to adapt even more than I already have. But fear will keep me stuck in an increasingly difficult reality. And stuck for a caregiver leads to failing self-care; failing health and, in over 60% of Alzheimer’s caregivers, death.
So let’s not go there. Let’s open ourselves to solutions that are offered now even if we are not sure we need them yet. In over 40 years of experience, I have never seen anyone get help before they needed it.
This disease is progressive and unrelenting. Instead what I have seen is those who were “not there yet” are suddenly in a crisis with few options. The crisis inevitably leads to reactive decisions that are regretted.
Let Dr. Cate be your go-to for more than the one quick question. Come to Dr. Cate for the game plan development; the team building; and the on-the-job training that will minimize the crises and the reactive decisions. Then when you are there, I guarantee a much bigger scrapbook of positive memories and far fewer regrets.