Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia comes with unique joys and frustrating challenges. When you’re caring for a family member such as a spouse or partner, grandparent, parent, or uncle, these experiences are often accompanied by a range of emotions.
ARARF is grateful for all you do as caregivers and we’re proud to provide you with resources in your journey. In honor of Family Caregiver’s Month, here are five tips to make caregiving easier:
1) Be aware of your own health, moods, and needs. While many caregivers experience fatigue as well as joy during their journey, depression and burnout can also occur. Be aware of signs of caregiver stress related to common issues such as changes in your relationship, your loved ones’ behavior, and financial concerns.
2) Find moments to refresh and re-energize together. Take part in activities that can decrease stress and bring a smile to you and your spouse, parent, grandparent, or partner. Get outside for a daily walk, turn off the TV and listen to favorite records one night a week, add prayer or meditation to your routine, or play with a pet (or visiting a neighbor’s furry friend). Learn more coping strategies, including incorporating joyful activities and relaxation techniques.
3) Do something just for you. It’s not uncommon to feel your own identify slipping away as the time and effort required by caregiving increases. Set aside time each week to do something by yourself that makes you feel like you again. Even an hour to pick up a book, watch a comedy show, paint, or do yoga can make all the difference.
4) Get tips and tricks on the go. It can be hard to find time to sit and read caregiving guides. You don’t have to be attached to a screen to pick up useful tips. Listen to The Alzheimer’s Caregiver audio while running errands, cooking, or commuting.
5) Create a circle of support. It’s important to know that you’re not alone. Find a way to connect with others providing care that feels right to you. Speak with your doctor about opportunities to meet others caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association often also run support groups. You can also check out ARARF’s private Facebook group for caregivers.
Photo: Michael Swan