If you care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, you are most likely under a lot of stress. Watching a loved one gradually lose his or her memory and become increasingly confused and disoriented can take a toll on even the strongest person. You can become so consumed with the responsibility of taking care of your loved one that you have little time or energy left to take care of yourself. This can eventually lead to burnout.
If you are caring for a parent or another family member who has Alzheimer’s, you need to take care of yourself too, as hard as that may seem. You need to know that it is ok to make your own wellbeing a priority. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of your family member. Here are some tips to help.
Take a Break and Do Things You Enjoy
Make sure you take time to relax and do things you enjoy. Spend time with other family members or friends, or alone working on a hobby if you prefer. The important thing is to find time to take a break from the stress and demands of taking care of your loved one and recharge so you will have the energy and focus you need to serve as a caregiver.
Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
Taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s is stressful and frustrating, and you may lose patience occasionally. That is completely normal and human, and you should not beat yourself up for it. Ask someone else to step in for a while and take a break to relax.
Be Realistic about the Future
Alzheimer’s disease does not have a cure. While it may be possible to slow the progression of the disease in some cases, you need to accept the reality that your loved one’s mental faculties will gradually decline. Be realistic about that and focus on the good moments you have left instead of hoping for a cure that may never come.
Seek Advice from People in Similar Situations
Many people have written books or articles online about their experiences caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s. These writings can be valuable resources that can provide tips on how to help your loved one as well as yourself. Seek out advice from people who have been there and understand what you are experiencing.
Interact with Your Loved One as Much as Possible
Stay engaged with your loved one as much as possible. Talk to him or her, even if you don’t get a response or if the response you get is not appropriate to the situation. Even a smile from your loved one can be rewarding.
Ask for Help If You Need It
The burden of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is too much for anyone to handle alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family, friends, or a professional caregiver.
If you need a break from the tasks of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, Dependable Care can help. Our compassionate caregivers have experience helping seniors with Alzheimer’s. We can match your loved one with a caregiver who can help with daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, toileting, bathing, and dressing so you can get a much-needed break for a few hours a week or several hours a day. If you need help, call Dependable Care today so we can match your loved one with the right caregiver.