Artist Shimoda Emanuel rearranged her life when she had to take care of her 95-year young mom with Alzheimer’s. Changing her whole way of doing things wasn’t easy; she was freaking out, losing sleep, feeling like her time wasn’t hers anymore.
Determined to make a change, she found better ways of implementing a healthy lifestyle of art, laughter and music into caregiving.
This is a 2-part series on Caring for the Person Living with Alzheimer’s Disease.
✔️ Main Point 1: Getting Out of Overwhelm
- A strategy Shimoda shares is first to pick up the phone and talk to somebody. At times you need to vent even without finding solutions. Just let it out.
- Release your emotions by writing it all out, making drawings or even putting on some rock music, just dancing as another way of releasing overwhelm.
✔️ Main Point 2: Role of the Support Team
- Sometimes, it’s easy to become pretty isolated if you’re a caregiver and feel like people have forgotten about you or that they don’t care. Other people help lighten the load. The Alzheimer’s Association has a 24-hour support line 1-800-272-3900.
- Be sure to tap into resources and other communities across the country with support groups to help people get connected because you need help.
✔️ Main Point 3: Getting Affairs in Order
- Understand the value that it’s never too early to have that talk with mom and dad. Getting their affairs in order is highly important to avoid facing problems with legalities in the future.
- Having someone to help walk you through it in fulfilling major papers. It’s a lot to do and will trigger overwhelm.
- You can find the In Case of Emergency Organizer, a 26-page document that takes you through everything you need to have in place.
✔️ Main Point 4: Doctors Appointments
- Find a company that will have a car service ready to pick you up. Schedule that considering how long your loved one with Alzheimer’s takes time to get dressed, eat, and prepare.
- Make sure that medications are ready; bring a snack, a magazine, something for them to play or be occupied with while waiting.
- Keep a bag packed that you could grab and go when you have to go to the emergency room.
Shimoda Donna Emanuel is a quilt, fiber, and mixed media artist and the owner of ShimodaAccessories.com. A published author, Shimoda shares her experience in her new book, Sacred Stitches: The Art of Caregiving.
Care Givers Items:
Book & Paper — Shimoda Accessories (shimoda-accessories.com)
Sacred Stitches: The Art of Care Giving
Tips for Stitching Yourself Together When Caring for Someone with Alzheimer’s
Sacred Stitches – Caregivers Need Love Also
I earned my Bachelor of Science in Nursing (‘96) and Master of Science in Nursing (‘00) as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) from the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) School of Nursing (SON). I truly enjoy working with the complex medical needs of older adults. I worked full-time for five years as FNP in geriatric primary care across many long-term care settings (skilled nursing homes, assisted living, home and office visits) then transitioned into academic nursing in 2005, joining the faculty at UNCW SON as a lecturer.
I obtained my PhD in Nursing and a post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing Education from the Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing (2011) ) and then joined the faculty at Duke University School of Nursing as an Assistant Professor. My family moved to northern Virginia in 2015 and led to me joining the faculty at George Washington University (GW) School of Nursing in 2018 as a (tenured) Associate Professor where I am also the Director of the GW Center for Aging, Health and Humanities.
Find out more about her work HERE.