Saturday, August 2, 2008

Caregiver's Syndrome

A recent newsletter from the Alzheimer's Association told of a newly recognized condition called caregiver's syndrome. It said that exhaustion accompanied by resentment and anger were warning signs (ah oh, I thought) and that people with this condition run higher risk of diabetes, stroke, and death (YIKES).

The statement that really caught my eye said that caregivers who suffer this set of ills may take on some of the characteristics of those for whom they care, for example, someone who cares for an Alzheimer's patient may find herself becoming more forgetful (uh, what was I saying?? Oh, yes)....This portion of the article gave me a jolt because earlier that very day I'd written the following sentence in my journal: I feel resentful toward Mom but am imitating her lifestyle choices, the ones that contributed to her Alzheimer’s.

In recent months I've been diagnosed with low thyroid, high cholesterol, and most recently, lower back pain that has defied a summer's efforts to remedy.

I've begun and failed to follow through with program after program of self-improvement. Becoming a grandmother this spring, an event that I perceive to have been astoundingly joyous and incredibly precious, nevertheless impacted my health negatively. I recalled reading that any emotional life passage can exacerbate Alzheimer's symptoms in those so inclined.

I am tired and discouraged but I am not without hope. No matter what state I'm in, I rest in the assurance that I won't fall apart because I am not the one who is in charge of holding me together: "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together," (Colossians 1:7). I do not have to analyze how I have gotten into the state I'm in because I can't do it. I'm stuck on this particular point on my time line, and the Lord is the only One who is able to inhabit my past and my future, as well as my present.

I'm going to walk forward in faith, because "...he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold " (Job 23:10).

The song, "Savior Like A Shepherd Lead Us," is in my mind tonight and provides comfort.

Scripture: "He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out" (John 10:3).


  1. "Caregiver's syndrome..." I agree - yikes! Just what we need arounf the house, more "syndromes." FANtabulous dar-ling!
    Praise the Lord for knowing where we're going and bringing us forth as gold. Thank goodness for Jesus Christ!

    Love you - Melody

  2. I feel for you. Caregiving is incredibly difficult and many times emotionally and physically draining. I took care of my husband for 11 months while he was ill with cancer, but it was a time where life became a narrow focus trying to keep him comfortable. I wish you the best. elaine

  3. Elaine, thank you so much for your comment. It is so encouraging to me that you have expressed empathy and encouragement after what you've been through. God bless you.

    And Melody, as always I love your comments. With your busy life I know the time you take to read my words is a true sacrifice of love, bless you.