There’s no such thing as a “typical day” in the life of someone with dementia – or, for the person caring for them. The individual may suddenly go from laughing, singing, and enjoying activities to sullen, angry, and aggressive. They may become caught in tearful repetitions of wanting to go “home.” They might pace and wander. Sleep could be tough, or it might be all they want to do.
It is a huge honor to care for a loved one with dementia; yet if we are truthful, it can also be quite challenging and stressful. Our dementia care professionals are here to help, however, with these vital tips to help overcome caregiver stress and restore mental wellness, peace, and calm to family caregivers.
First of all, establish a network of support. It is just not conceivable to provide care for someone you love with dementia on your own. Taking time for yourself is vital to your own personal health in addition to that of the senior in your care. When friends and family ask how they may assist, provide them with concrete examples of what you need. That could mean someone to spend an afternoon each week with the senior to play games, reminisce, engage in hobbies or exercise, etc. Maybe preparing meals or helping with housework and laundry would be a welcome relief. Perhaps it is transportation to religious services each weekend. Then graciously accept the assistance offered.
Additionally, connect with a support group (either online or in person) for dementia caregivers. You will find others who can sympathize with your struggles and supply practical approaches to help. Just knowing you have somebody to communicate with who understands can provide great comfort.
Spend your downtime wisely. When you have the assistance of others, take advantage of your time to step away from providing care by taking part in activities that will help you relax and de-stress. A few ideas to help you get started include:
- Relaxation tactics such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, prayer, meditation, etc.
- Working out in whatever form is most enjoyable for you personally: going for a walk, mowing the lawn, gardening, swimming, etc.
- Finding things to do outdoors, where the fresh air and sunshine can help alleviate any tension you are feeling; grab a good book and your favorite beverage 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 regular checkup and any other tests or procedures you’ve been postponing. Remember your mental health as well. If your stress level seems overwhelming, speak with a professional counselor for help.
Looking for more ways to overcome caregiver stress? Morning Glory Home Care, an Alton senior care and in-home care provider throughout the surrounding areas, helps family caregivers prioritize time for self-care. Our skilled dementia care team can provide exceptional care, day or night, while you take the time away you need. Give us a call at 618-667-8400 for a complimentary in-home assessment to find out more.