Best-selling author to speak on caregiving at Alzheimer's conference
BY SHANNON MUCHMORE World Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
11/07/12 at 5:00 AM
Best-selling author and journalist Gail Sheehy will speak Thursday on the stages of caregiving and how to deal with them at a caregivers education conference hosted by the local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.
Sheehy is the author of the 1976 best-seller "Passages." She was a caregiver herself when her husband had cancer.
Sheehy will speak about wellness and prevention of diseases like Alzheimer's. That includes the importance of exercise and mental engagement, which have been shown to delay the disease, she said.
She will talk about the different stages of caregiving, which can occur in a variety of orders. Knowing what to expect can help a person manage, she said.
"It does make some sense of what could otherwise be chaotic," she said.
Sheehy will also discuss some of the joys of caregiving and how to have fun with a loved one, despite obstacles like impaired mobility or a feeding tube, she said.
The strong intimacy a caregiver develops with a loved one can give people a chance to reconcile or have the discussions they weren't able to have earlier, she said.
"You get to say the things that are the most important things to be said," she said.
Siblings and friends can help a caregiver stay grounded. Caregivers can draw up a schedule and see what times they might need assistance, she said.
People are becoming more aware of the stress on caregivers but they may not know how to help, she said.
It's crucial that caregivers take time for themselves every day, whether it's to meditate, do yoga, listen to music or just relax, she said.
"Let the brain refresh," she said.
Caregivers should be sure to spend time among healthy people, also, she said.
"It's so easy to become isolated and give up going with friends to dinner or to a party," she said.
It's best for siblings to discuss what they are able to do before the caregiving is needed, she said.
Tulsa caregiver education conference
When: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday
Where: Doubletree Hotel Downtown, 616 W. Seventh St.
For more: Nellie Windsor, 918-392-5006 or nwindsor @alz.org
Original Print Headline: Author to speak at Alzheimer's event
Shannon Muchmore 918-581-8378