Q: DEAR REGINA, My dad has late stage dementia and has been bed-ridden for approximately a year in NY. My sister has been his primary caregiver. She does have help with other family support and hired help. My brother and I here in St Lucia provide the finances for the hired help. We both feel so disconnected and helpless. Is there any support groups out here in St Lucia to help us cope with long distant care support?
A: My goodness my heart goes out to you as long distant support is so unappreciated. The next Support meeting will be held in January 2017. Until then you and your brother can join our Facebook support for the Caribbean Caring Angels~ Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support. It is a closed group so you can freely vent your frustrations or support another person. There are many FB support groups that can help at this time.
I want to assure you and your brother that your participation is so vital while you are distant. Calling when you can, sending items that make things easier for your dad and your sister is always helpful.
Being distant in the late stages is depressing for many families and this is beyond your control. Support your sister with her needs as most of her attention is on your dad. Thank her, appreciate her. When you visit him your presence there is a blessing.
There are cases where Primary families prevent long distant family from helping and this will also add guilt to the long-distant family.
The guilt we carry as long distant family and friends is very difficult. No one really gets it but those going through it or have been through it. The best approach is to share the experience with someone you trust to release the pain. No one can take it away. Understand that you are not alone and family dynamics can cause a fountain of challenges. Know your own heart and do not judge the other family members as their response may not be as cruel as it appears to you. We all express emotional pain uniquely. Please, nurture your own pain with love so you can be there for your loved one. Contact your local Alzheimer’s Association for more information. At times it may be needed to speak to a professional Therapist for support.
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