Kris became a full time caregiver to her grandmother Mary in March 2017. Since then she has documented their journey and is spreading the word about how to not only care for your loved ones but to ensure that caregivers prioritise their own mental health as well.
Kris shares with us how she cares for her grandmother, knowing that everyday is different but she can always guarantee that love will be at the heart of everything she does.
"In the beginning I did not want her to do anything but that was really detrimental to her, she wanted to help and to do things so we do things together."
"Keeping the environment calm is not always possible but I try to manage how I am feeling being calm around her. I try to enter reality and be where she is. I always want her to feel that I am on her side."
"My grandma has always been a bit of a spitfire, she has maintained her physical activity so far. We go for walks around the neighborhood and we also have a physio medal which helps to maintain her physical strength."
"Spending time together really brings both of us joy, we can just lay around together and laugh. It does not matter what we are doing but as long as we are together."
"I am her biggest cheerleader so i encourage her everyday. She is a superstar so no matter what she does I celebrate her which helps her find a sense of achievement."
Keeping a Sense of Identity
"It is really important to me, to provide her with options, she will point at her preferred piece of clothing or what she wants to eat."
“When Mary was first diagnosed I did not want her to do anything but that was detrimental for her, so now we do chores together and help each other where possible.”
Keeping them involved and allowing them time and space to help will allow them to maintain a level of independence.
Spending time together really brings both of us joy.
Keeping the environment calm is not always possibly but try to keep yourself calm so that they can be as calm as possible. It is also important to enter their reality if they are agitated do not try to change their mind, just listen to them, and take a step back.
Provide them with encouragement and keep celebrating their achievements.
Giving them options so that they can choose what they want to wear or what to eat can help them to feel more autonomous.
Keeping them active can be difficult, going for a walk every afternoon is helpful as it gives them routine and having a physio medal to hand is useful if they do not want to go out.