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Can You Recommend Resources for an Alzheimer’s Support Group??

01 Jul

Question:

I attend a monthly Alzheimer's caregivers' support group meeting. We have been discussing topics like stress, frustration, etc.

I suggested our group do a guided meditation some time. I was wondering if you thought the "Ease Grief" one would be appropriate for our group (all are caregivers of spouses or a parent, most local, some long distance (I am a long-distance caregiver)).

I absolutely LOVE your guided meditation for chemo patients -- I used it religiously when I was in chemo back 2003--it really helped me. If you have another suggestion for our caregivers group, I would appreciate hearing what you have in mind.

Thanks and regards,
Lucy K.

Answer: 

Dear Lucy,

So glad the chemo imagery helped, and so glad you asked this question.  Any caregiver of someone with a chronic disease has boatloads of stress, frustration, sadness, guilt, anger, loneliness and resentment to manage, not to mention the constant drain on energy, resources and time.  It’s pretty daunting.
 
And with Alzheimer's – especially in the advanced stages, when the person is gone without being gone, and can’t commiserate, empathize, reminisce, joke, share or appreciate you and what you're doing for them – and you’ve got what’s arguably the toughest caregiver situation of them all.
 
Ease Grief is a good one, but possibly won’t apply to everyone in the group, if some of the people with Alzheimer’s aren’t completely “gone”; or if some of the caretakers are in denial over how “gone” their loved one actually is.  Additionally, that imagery deals with loss, for sure, but doesn’t address some of the other issues of constant caretaking the way some others do.
 
So for that reason, I’d recommend our Caregiver Stress imagery; which was written with exactly these circumstances in mind – as I say in the descriptive copy, I wrote it to remind caregivers of their own strength, goodness, tenacity and resourcefulness; to offer nurturing, relaxing and supportive images; to underline the need for self-care; to sustain motivation; to help release accrued resentment; to help restore hope for the future; and to acknowledge the difficulties without sugar-coating them.  It’s about 45 minutes of playing time, and has a track of relevant affirmations that recapitulate these same themes.

I’m also a huge fan of Dr. Lynn Joseph’s 7-track CD called Emotional Renewal for Caregivers: Looking After Yourself While Helping a Loved One. Man, does she get what caregivers go through – she’s a masterful, compassionate and surefooted guide.  This would be a wonderful resource for your support group, and it would offer you many weeks worth of sound ideas and inspiring exercises.  After an intro offering some first-rate advice, she has imagery segments on Boosting Self-Love, Planning a Smooth Day; Healing Stressful Feelings; Connecting with Your Future Self; Sleeping Soundly; and a lot more.  It’s 72 minutes of primo playing time.
 
I hope this is a help.  Best of luck and hats off to you and your peers for doing what you do.  Yeah, hat’s off, for sure.

All best,
Belleruth

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award