There is no such thing as a “typical day” for someone with dementia – or, for the individual caring for them. The person may abruptly go from laughing, singing, and enjoying activities to aggressive, sullen, and angry. They might get caught in tearful repetitions of wanting to go “home.” Some might pace and wander. Sleep may be difficult, or it might be all they would like to do.
It can be an incredible honor to care for someone in your life with dementia; yet if we are honest, it can also be very daunting and demanding. Our Alzheimer’s disease care specialists are here to assist, however, with these important tips on how to fight stress and restore peace, calm, and mental wellness to family caregivers.
Most importantly, build a community of support. It is simply not conceivable to care for someone you love with dementia by yourself. Taking time for yourself is a must for your own health as well as that of the senior in your care. When friends and family ask how they can assist, give them concrete examples of your needs. That could be a friend to spend a day each week with the senior to play games, reminisce, take part in hobbies or exercise, etc. Perhaps preparing meals or helping with housework and laundry would be a welcome relief. Maybe it’s a ride to religious services each weekend. Then graciously take the help offered.
Additionally, join a support group (either online or in person) for dementia caregivers. You will find other individuals who can empathize with your struggles and supply useful strategies that can help. Just knowing you have people to communicate with who understand can bring incredible relief.
Enjoy your downtime wisely. When you have the help of others, take full advantage of your time to step away from providing care by participating in activities so that you can relax and de-stress. A few ideas to help you get started include:
- Relaxation techniques such as breathing deeply, progressive muscle relaxation, prayer, practicing meditation, etc.
- Exercising in whatever form is most satisfying for you: going for a walk or on a bike ride, working in the garden, swimming, etc.
- Finding activities you can do out of the house, where the fresh air and sunshine can help ease any anxiety you may be experiencing; pick up a good book and your favorite beverage and settle onto the porch swing
Take care of your health care needs. You may get so swept up in making sure your senior family member’s doctor appointments are kept that your own have taken a back seat. Make arrangements for a regular examination and any additional tests or treatments you have been putting off. Don’t forget your mental health as well. If your anxiety level seems overwhelming, get in touch with a professional counselor for help.
Want more tips on how to fight stress? Hearts at Home In-Home Care is a trusted provider of home care in Overland Park, KS and the surrounding areas and we are committed to helping family caregivers prioritize time for self-care. Our experienced dementia care team can provide excellent care, day or night, while you take the time off you need. Reach out to us at 913-440-4209 for a complimentary in-home consultation and for more information about our trusted home care services.