There is no such thing as a “normal day” for someone with dementia – or, for the person caring for them. The individual may abruptly go from enjoying activities, laughing, and singing to sullen, angry, and aggressive. They could get stuck in tearful repetitions of wishing to go “home.” They may pace and wander. Sleep might be tough, or it may be all they would like to do.
It is a great honor to care for a loved one in your life with dementia; yet if we are candid, it’s can also be tremendously difficult and stressful. Our Alzheimer’s care experts are here to provide help for caregivers of dementia patients, however, with these recommended tips for decreasing stress and restoring mental wellness, peace, and calm to family caregivers.
First and foremost, establish a network of support. It is not really feasible to provide care for a person you love with dementia all on your own. Time for self-care is extremely important to your personal health in addition to that of the senior in your care. When those close to you ask how they can help, give them tangible examples of your needs. That could be a friend to spend a day every week with the senior to play games, reminisce, take part in hobbies or exercise, etc. Maybe preparing meals or helping with housework and laundry would be a welcome relief. Perhaps it’s a ride to religious services or social outings each weekend. Then graciously take the assistance offered.
Additionally, connect with a support group (either online or in person) for dementia caregivers. You’ll find others who can sympathize with your struggles and give tried-and-true approaches to help. Just knowing you have people to consult who understand can provide great relief.
Spend your downtime wisely. Once you have the support of others, take advantage of your time to step away from providing care by participating in activities to help you relax and de-stress. A few ideas to get you started include:
- Relaxation tactics such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, prayer, meditation, etc.
- Working out in whatever form is most rewarding for you personally: going for a walk, riding a bike, gardening, swimming, etc.
- Spending time outdoors, where the fresh air and sunshine can help ease any stress you are feeling; 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 doctor appointments are kept that your own have taken a back seat. Schedule time for a routine checkup and any additional tests or procedures you’ve been putting off. Remember your mental health as well. If your anxiety level seems overwhelming, talk to a professional counselor for help.
Anthem Home Care is a reliable provider of dementia care in Portland, TX and throughout the surrounding areas, and offers expert help for caregivers of dementia patients. Our experienced team provides top-notch care, day or night, as you take the time away you need. Reach out to us at 361-643-2323 for a cost-free in-home consultation to find out more.