There is really no such thing as a “regular day” in the life of someone with dementia – or, for the person caring for them. The individual may unexpectedly go from laughing, singing, and enjoying activities to sullen, angry, and aggressive. They could become stuck in tearful repetitions of asking to go “home.” They might pace and wander. Sleeping might be tough, or it may be all they wish to do.
It’s a great honor to care for an older adult in your life with dementia; yet if we’re candid, it can also be incredibly frustrating and demanding. Our Alzheimer’s disease care professionals are here to assist, however, with these important tips for lessening caregiver stress and restoring peace, calm, and mental wellness to family caregivers.
First and foremost, establish a network of support. It’s not really feasible to provide care for someone you love with dementia on your own. Time for self-care is crucial to your personal health as well as that of the senior in your care. When friends and family ask how they may assist, give them concrete examples of what you need. That could be someone to spend an afternoon every week with the senior to play games, reminisce, participate in hobbies or exercise, etc. Perhaps helping with housework and laundry or preparing meals would be a welcome relief. Or maybe it is transportation to religious services or social outings each weekend. Then graciously accept the assistance offered.
Additionally, sign up for a support group (either online or in person) for dementia caregivers. You’ll find other people who can sympathize with your struggles and provide useful approaches that can help. Just knowing you have people to communicate with who understand can provide incredible relief.
Enjoy your downtime wisely. Once you have the assistance of others, take advantage of your time to step away from providing care by engaging in activities so that you can relax and de-stress. A few ideas to get you started include:
- Relaxation techniques such as yoga breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, prayer, meditation, etc.
- Physical exercise in whatever form is most satisfying for you: walking, riding a bike, gardening, swimming, etc.
- Activities to do outdoors, where the fresh air and sunshine can help alleviate any stress you’re feeling; grab a good book and some lemonade and settle onto the porch swing
Take care of your health care needs. You may get so involved in making sure your senior family member’s medical appointments are kept that your own have taken a back seat. Schedule time for a routine examination and any other tests or treatments you’ve been postponing. Remember your mental health as well. If your stress level seems overwhelming, get in touch with a professional counselor for help.
Abby Senior Care is a trusted provider of respite care and home care in Highlands Ranch, CO and the surrounding areas. We understand the importance of helping family caregivers make time for self-care. Our professional dementia care team can provide outstanding care, day or night, while you take the time off you need. Give us a call at 303-699-8840 for a free in-home assessment to learn more.