Caring for a family member who has Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia can be a rewarding role. You have an opportunity to provide hands-on care and support for someone you love. Taking them to physician appointments allows you to share changes and concerns, and seek solutions for managing symptoms. Cooking meals for them helps you ensure they are eating a well-balanced diet. Spending this time together is a way for the two of you to stay connected.
As the demands of caregiving increase, however, you may find your own health declining. Headaches, digestive issues, and insomnia are just a few medical issues caregivers report.
Caregivers often begin to doubt whether they are doing a good job caring for their loved one or not. They second-guess themselves and worry about every small issue that comes up. It’s a situation that can increase stress levels and leave the caregiver feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted.
If this situation sounds familiar, you may be on the cusp of caregiver burnout. It’s a serious issue that can lead to a health crisis for the caregiver. Taking steps to regain a healthy sense of balance is essential.
Restoring Balance While Caring For a Senior with Alzheimer’s
1. Schedule a few days away
This might be tough for a dedicated caregiver to do, but it is essential. Ask another family member or trusted friend to stay with your senior loved one for a day or two so you can take a break. Remind yourself that it will help you be a better caregiver if you get away for a few days.
If you don’t have anyone who is able to stay with your loved one while you are gone, take advantage of a short-term respite stay at a local assisted living community. Most are affordably priced. Communities with a dedicated memory care neighborhood are an ideal choice. Your family member will receive care and support from experts, while you relax and tend to your own health and well-being.
Utilizing respite also has another benefit. It allows you to evaluate how well your family member does at a memory care community. This type of trial stay may give you peace of mind that if the day comes when you can no longer meet your family members needs at home, there is a place you can turn to.
2. Find avenues for support
Family members often feel a strong sense of duty when it comes to taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Even when others offer to help, a caregiver may decline thinking no one else can meet the senior’s needs like they can. Our first tip is to accept the idea that you can’t do it all on your own. While you may know your loved one best, if you experience a medical emergency, where does that leave the senior?
Take time or ask a friend to help you find local senior care options. Adult day programs, respite care in a memory care neighborhood at an assisted living community, or a few hours of in-home care from an agency are good options to consider. Your church or synagogue may also have a friendly visitor program with volunteers who sit with homebound seniors for a few hours to give the caregiver a break.
3. Commit to accepting help regularly
Commit to yourself that you will accept help on a regular basis. If cost is an issue, contact the local agency on aging. They often know of local and federal programs to assist.
Having a few hours of week to yourself can allow you to practice the self-care you need to remain healthy. Enjoy a few laughs over lunch with a friend. Spend time taking an art class at a local coffee house. Plant and care for an herb garden. Spending time nurturing your health will make you a better and more empathetic caregiver.
A Continuum of Care at Sunrise Senior Living
At Sunrise communities, we recognize the importance of the individual. Each of our residents has a unique plan of care with goals based on their health status, abilities, and wishes. Because we offer a continuum of care at many of our communities, families can rest assured their loved one will receive the right type and amount of support.
The best way to learn more is by visiting a Sunrise community in person. Our experienced team members will help you explore your options and find a solution that best meets your loved one’s needs. Call us at 888-434-4648 to set up a time to stop by!