The Healthy Caregiver

How to Take Care of Yourself While Taking Care of Your Loved One

Seeking and receiving the support you need can make a real difference in your ability to cope with stress, remain healthy and continue to care for your loved one.

  •  JOIN AN ALZHEIMER’S SUPPORT GROUP

    Support groups are invaluable, as they provide an opportunity to share advice, commiserate and learn from others who have the same concerns, feelings, stresses and challenges.

  •  TAP INTO ONLINE RESOURCES

    Facebook groups, message boards, blogs and chat rooms provide another medium for connecting with and learning from those experiencing similar challenges. You’ll also find an abundance of news, research and information relating to memory loss.

  •  CENTER YOURSELF

    The Validation Method encourages “centering” to help remain calm and patient during the inevitable frustrating moments of caring for a loved one with memory loss. Close your eyes—in private if necessary—and take a few deep, slow breaths. You’ll feel calmer, and your energy will be more focused.

Center Yourself: Caring for Those with Alzheimer's & Memory Loss

Sunrise Senior Living's Vice President of Memory Care Services, Rita Altman, explains "centering," an important technique to help caregivers focus and prepare themselves for stressful and difficult situations.

  •  KEEP A JOURNAL

    Write down thoughts and feelings about being a caregiver—even the ones that make you uncomfortable. It’s a powerful way to confront your emotions and process them in a healthy fashion.

  •  TAKE A BREAK

    Sadly, many caregivers do not get the break they deserve and so critically need. Periodic “respites” (time away from caregiving responsibilities) are critical. Respite can take a variety of forms—for the caregiver, a few hours or an overnight stay when a friend or family member takes on the caregiving responsibilities, or by your loved one spending several days at an assisted living community like Sunrise. Respite care offers several benefits:

    • Relieves stress as you relax or focus on something you enjoy
    • Provides a new, enriching experience for your loved one
    • Results in more enjoyable time spent together afterwards

How Caregiving Impacts Your Health

According to the Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org), caregivers report higher incidences than non-caregivers of anxiety and depression. When tested, they also show higher levels of stress hormones. These factors may lead to hypertension, reduced immune function, coronary heart disease and other health problems. These risks make it more critical than ever to maintain your own health—which means taking well-deserved breaks. Find time each day to do at least one thing for yourself in order to reduce stress. Sunrise Short-Term Stays offer caregivers the opportunity to take time for themselves, while ensuring their loved ones receive top-quality care in a loving, warm environment.

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