Caregiver's Meeting - 'TECHNIQUES FOR MANAGING CAREGIVER STRESS' on 11 August, 2012

Key Speaker Ms. Farzana Mulla started the session by introducing herself and the topic for the day i.e., Preventing Caregivers stress- Part II: Psychological strategies for reducing stress followed by a brief introduction of themselves by the attendees.

Then, there was a small introduction on dementia and a quick recap of session-I during which she spoke about mental health needs and stress of caregivers and how sharing their feelings with others would help them. The outline of session-II was:
- How to manage stress
- Psychological strategies to reduce/manage stress

The Speaker highlighted that the caregivers should never try to neglect the stress they feel by simply dismissing it as something thatis inevitable or that it is their "duty" to take care of the patient because-
- The caregivers themselves will have serious problems if they ignore stress, fall sick frequently, take time to recover and this might further increase the stress.
- Stress within caregivers will reflect on the person you are taking care of.

Strategies to manage stress:
The chief speaker was Ms Farzana Mulla and it was attended by 20 caregivers including volunteers and staff. It started with a brief self introduction by all people present in the meeting.

Giving the first strategy, she called upon any two caregivers for a small activity to demonstrate the same. After the activity, she went on to explain how the deteriorating cognitive abilities, like judgment, of the dementia patient make them dependent on their caregivers, feeling the need of their presence almost all the time. This small demonstration helped the caregivers to understand the needs of a person with dementia from the patient's perspective.

She explained what implicit learning is and emphasized on the fact that the more you help a person with dementia, the more helpless they tend to become. Letting patients do their work by giving them instructions and by not offering help unless needed, help develop/strengthen their implicit memory making them that much independent eventually.

Ms. Farzana Muller suggested that caregivers employ an attendant. She pointed out that it might take a minimum of 2-3 weeks for a person with dementia to get familiar to a new place or person and requested to give them time and space to develop their relation. This would help caregivers to step little back and create little space to do something they like to do and so they are that much stress-relieved.

She concluded the meeting empathizing with caregivers and suggesting
some possible ways to help solve their issues.

A presentation on the Vesag watch followed.