Having a loved one who needs Alzheimer’s care can be challenging. If you’re not careful, caregiving can be all consuming, and you can become not only overwhelmed; but neglectful of your health as well. Taking care of yourself is as important too, as important as caring for your loved one because you are the most important person who is providing care. Additionally, when caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, communication is important. So, with all this in mind, below are tips to help you become a better caregiver:
- Be sure to give yourself respite care relief: Taking care of someone 24 hours a day, seven days a week can be exhausting. So, ask other family members to help, or friends or an in-home respite caregiver to come and relieve you. Be sure to schedule frequent breaks for yourself also through the day and be sure to eat right and exercise. Don’t be afraid to communicate to someone else what your needs are too. Check out government programs additionally if there is no one to help.
- Conversation: Be sure to talk to someone about what you’re going through, how you’re dealing with it and how you feel. It can be a friend, therapist, clergy member or family member. The person doesn’t have to solve your problems, just be a good listener and hear you out. Sometimes just talking to someone who listens can be cathartic.
- Acceptance: A big challenge for a caregiver is to accept what the disease is doing and that it won’t get better. As the disease progresses also, expectations of what your loved one will be able to do change too. By accepting this, coping with the emotional loss may be easier.
- Imagine: Try to imagine what it’s like to be your loved one. Think about what it would be like to not be able to do simple tasks or remember. By valuing your senior’s problems, you may find comfort and compassion in the hardest of days.
- Make contact: When your senior can no longer express verbally, take time in your day to focus on the person and connect one-on-one. Stroke the person’s hand and talk in a low calm voice. This will reduce your stress and improve your mood too.
If you develop caregiver burnout, you can’t be as patient or supportive as you need to be. But if you seek help and support along the way, caregiving can be rewarding even with its challenges.
You may also like: