Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can be physically, emotionally and financially challenging. The demands of day-to-day care, changing family roles and making difficult decisions on behalf of a family member are hard to handle. That’s why self-care is vital when you’re caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
Yes, taking care of yourself is one of THE most important things you can do as a caregiver. A strong support network of family and friends is important to your physical and mental health; if that is not available, consider joining a support group. Continue doing things you enjoy. Consider using adult day care services, or get help from a local home health care agency.
Becoming well-informed about the disease is another important long-term strategy. Search out programs or resources that help you learn about various stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s and about flexible and practical strategies for dealing with difficult situations.
10 Self-Care Tips for Family Caregivers
1. You are not alone.
Do not hesitate to seek support from other caregivers.
2. Ask for help when you need it.
Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you.
3. Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.
Maintain a healthy diet, exercise, get plenty of sleep and see your own doctor as needed.
4. Maintain your religious beliefs and spiritual values.
Your faith doesn’t have to take a backseat to caregiver duties.
5. Take breaks each day.
Spending even just a few minutes to enjoy a cup of tea, listen to a favorite song or take a walk can really rejuvenate your spirit.
6. Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors.
Take good notes, ask questions and request clear explanations whenever necessary.
7. Be open to new technologies.
They can help you care for your loved one.
8. Organize medical information.
Make sure it’s up to date and easy to find.
9. Ensure that legal documents are in order.
Seek help from other family members if you need it.
10. Finally, give yourself credit for doing the best you can!
Caregiving for someone with dementia is one of the toughest jobs there is! Be kind to yourself and celebrate each day’s small victories.
This article is from the Pine Rest publication, Dementia Insights. For more information on support and resources for family caregivers, visit pinerest.org/caregivers.