By Meg Foster
According to Alzheimer’s International, globally, there are nearly 44 million people that have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.
In America alone, there are 5.3 million living with Alzheimer’s disease. 74% of caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias reported that they were “somewhat concerned” to “very concerned” about maintaining their own health since becoming a caregiver. Certainly these caregivers and their loved ones are in a health care crisis.
The immediate needs of these families in crisis are practical care coordination support and resources. But as those needs are sought by families, which is no easy task unto itself, there are also emotional and spiritual needs of the caregiver that cannot be overlooked, but are, in most instances.
I summarize that need as Spiritual Health — the emotional, physical, spiritual and social well-being that is critical for caregivers to sustain this caregiver journey.
I was the caregiver to my husband Dean, who was diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD). It was a tough, long path of seven years for Dean. But for me, as his caregiver, I was on a different but related path — the caregiver path.
Often Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers feel lost, alone, and overwhelmed. I wrote 7 Spiritual Steps for Caregivers: A Path to Meaning and Hope in Alzheimer’s & Dementia Caregiving to alleviate those feelings with a self-awareness process and tools. This is a straight-forward structured guidebook for family caregivers to discover and build upon their spiritual health foundation which will strengthen them for this arduous journey.
Through growth in self-awareness and the strengthening of a spiritual foundation, caregivers can then experience ease, meaning, and hope in the reality of their daily caregiving duties with their loved one, thus reducing stress, anxiety, and feelings of being lost, alone and overwhelmed.
The feedback on the book has been positive and I’m excited to share this information. A recent Amazon book reviewer said, “Good resource and worksheets for caregivers. It gets you through the process with more grace and forgiveness, so that you can be the calm in the storm.” I hope many others can have easy access to spiritual help and that gives me satisfaction that my experience can be useful for others. There’s an ebook, paperback and expanded journal paperback available on Amazon.
Wishing you Light on your Caregiver Path,
Connect with Meg Foster