With nearly 1 in 4 caregivers spending over 41 hours per week providing care to individuals living with dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease, it’s no wonder that many Alzheimer’s Caregivers are experiencing burnout. Caregivers regularly lose sleep because they fear what their loved one with Alzheimer’s may do when left unattended, and many give up their jobs and social activities as they can’t leave their family member home alone. Here are tips for caregivers to provide the care their loved ones need while avoiding burnout:
Find and Join an Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Group
While your friends and family not caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s have trouble understanding what you’re going through, joining a support group of caregivers experiencing the same challenges can be helpful. If you’re on social media, join the Alzheimer’s Facebook page and you’ll be part of a community of more than 270,000 Alzheimer’s caregivers to share stories and get advice from others in the same situation, ideal for caregivers who may not have the ability to attend in-person support groups. If you can, join a local Alzheimer’s support group for in-person meetings. You can find one using the Alzheimer’s Association Community Resource Finder.
Take Care of Yourself and Remember to Take Breaks
As a caregiver, it is easy to focus all of your attention on your loved one and forget to take proper care of yourself. Give yourself a break every day to do the things you enjoy doing, whether that’s taking a walk, sitting and having coffee with friends, or watching TV. You may need to hire help or enlist the services of family or friends to ensure you get this time for yourself, but it is important to your own well-being to do so. Look into respite care through your local Alzheimer’s Association, too. Taking care of yourself will help you manage your stress and avoid Alzheimer’s caregiver burnout.
Move Your Loved One to a Memory Care Facility
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, the responsibility and level of care may be more than you can handle on your own and you may need to move your loved one to a memory care facility. There are different levels of care provided at residential care centers. You should pick one that meets the needs of your loved one.
Assisted living communities provide help to residents with dressing and meal preparation. There is 24-hour staff and most include activities, housekeeping, laundry, and transportation services, but they do not provide skilled medical care.
Alzheimer’s special care units are memory care units for people with memory problems. Generally these are units of a larger care facility grouped together. Caregivers have specialized training in the needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s.