There is no such thing as a “typical day” in the life of someone with dementia – or, for the individual caring for them. The senior may suddenly go from enjoying activities, laughing, and singing to aggressive, sullen, and angry. They might become stuck in tearful repetitions of wishing to go “home.” They might pace and wander. Sleeping might be tough, or it might be all they want to do.
It’s a great honor to care for someone in your life with dementia; yet if we’re candid, it can also be very difficult and demanding. Our dementia care experts are here to help you, however, with these essential tips to fight caregiver stress and restore peace, calm, and mental wellness to family care providers.
To start with, build a network of support. It is just not reasonable to care for a person you love with dementia without any help. Time for self-care is vital to your own personal health as well as that of the senior in your care. When loved ones ask how they can assist, provide them with specific examples of your needs. This might be a friend to spend an afternoon every week with the senior to play games, reminisce, participate in hobbies or exercise, etc. Perhaps preparing meals or helping with housework and laundry would be a welcome relief. Or perhaps it is transportation to religious services each weekend. Then graciously welcome the help offered.
Additionally, sign up for a support group (either online or in person) for dementia caregivers. You’ll find other individuals who can sympathize with your struggles and supply useful approaches to help. Just knowing you’ve got people to communicate with who understand can provide amazing comfort.
Spend your downtime sensibly. Once you’ve got the help 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 help you get started include:
- Relaxation tactics like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, prayer, meditation, etc.
- Physical exercise in whatever form is most satisfying for you personally: going on a walk, mowing the lawn, gardening, swimming, etc.
- Finding things you can do outside, where the fresh air and sunshine can help soothe any tension you may be experiencing; pick up a good book and some lemonade and settle onto the porch swing
Tend to your own health 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. Make arrangements for a routine examination and any other tests or treatments you’ve been postponing. Remember your mental health as well. If your stress level feels overwhelming, get in touch with a professional therapist for help.
Inspired Home Care is a trusted provider of dementia care in Barrington, IL and throughout the surrounding areas. We understand the importance of helping family caregivers prioritize time for self-care. Our professional dementia care team can offer top-notch care, day or night, while you take the time away you need. Reach out to us at 847-787-7572 for a free in-home consultation to learn more.