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The Effects of Caregiving on My PsA

My father is a dementia patient. He is 90 years old. Last summer, our family was informed that Dad was definitely a victim of this disease. My oldest brother and dad moved back to town. Currently they live five houses down the street for me. My sister and I take turns with my dad. This journey has been a difficult one on my psoriatic arthritis.

How have I been helping around the house?

David, my brother can not clean much because Dad needs so much looking after. This means that the cleaning is left to my sister and me. Normal chores around my own house are hard to do as well. When David needs to take a break, Mary and I go over and stay with Dad. We dust, sweep, mop, and vacuum. David makes use of his two to three days off by sleeping through, going for hikes, doing his bills and resting. Don't get me wrong David does chores too. It's just the deep cleaning that has to be done by us. We travel upstairs and downstairs taking care of laundry and cleaning.

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How am I helping with his healthcare needs?

Dad's attention span is not long and he needs care for his health issues. For example he is a diabetic and requires frequent small meals and insulin shots. He needs guidance to do this now. He used to take his testing supplies and check his sugar on his own. Now we have to to stand or sit with him to help with each step. We also are the ones that set his syringes and are sure that the shots are administered properly. Dad also has to have all his meals made too.

How has it impacted my psoriatic arthritis?

During the couple days of our stay my arthritis tends to flare up. My hips dislike the stairs immensely. My knees dislike bending, squatting and the steps. When we stay with Dad, we sleep there too. That means that it is a whole other bed to get used to. My PsA in my spine and hip are not fans of my dad's mattress choice in the spare room. Needless to say sleeping is not something that will be easy.

How has caring for us both been difficult?

I love my dad unconditionally. I would do anything for him. The stress of his health is stressing to me as well. Watching my father's health deteriorate is not easy. The once very capable happy man is slowly becoming more dependent on his family. Looking out for his health needs and my own have become more difficult. Recently, I had a stent placed in my heart so trying to control my stress is now become a necessity.

How have I been caring for myself?

I meditate and use breathing apps now to help when I feel overwhelmed. I try to walk every day health and weather permitting. One of the big things in caregiving is remembering to care for yourself too. The day can be overwhelming but you have to be okay to help your family member too.

Do you care for someone in your family? How does it make your PsA react? Let me know what your strategies are for keeping down flares.

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