Care giving is demanding- and it’s normal to need a break. Most caregivers like the idea of “me” time but are convinced they can’t find it. Seeking help does not make you a failure. Taking your “Me Time” will help you to relax and revitalize. Schedule a day or two that you can set aside just for yourself and stick to the plan. Remember that respite services benefit the person with dementia as well as you, the caregiver.
Asking Family & Friends for Help
It’s not always easy to ask for help, even when you desperately need it. Perhaps you’re afraid to impose on others or worried that your request will be resented or rejected. But if you simply make your needs known, you may be pleasantly surprised by the willingness of others to pitch in. Many times, friends and family members want to help, but don’t know how. Here are a few ways to make it easier for them:
- Set aside one-on-one time to talk to the person
- Go over the list of care giving needs
- Point out areas in which they might be of service (maybe your brother is good at Internet research, or your friend is a financial whiz)
- Make sure the person understands what would be most helpful to both you and the care giving recipient
Exercise & Maintain Your Health
- Exercise regularly. Try to get in at least 30 minutes of exercise, three times per week. Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress and boost your energy. So get moving, even if you’re tired.
- Eat right. Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress and get through busy days. Keep your energy up and your mind clear by eating nutritious meals at regular times throughout the day.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs. It can be tempting to turn to substances for escape when life feels overwhelming, but they can easily compromise the quality of your care giving. Instead, try dealing with problems head on and with a clear mind.
- Get enough sleep. Aim for an average of eight hours of solid, uninterrupted sleep every night. Otherwise, your energy level, productivity, and ability to handle stress will suffer.
- Keep up with your own health care. Go to the doctor and dentist on schedule, and keep up with your own prescriptions or medical therapy. As a caregiver, you need to stay as strong and healthy as possible.
As a caregiver, support groups can offer you the opportunity to improve your coping skills, to learn specific skills that are helpful in managing your care giving responsibilities, and to hear experiences from others that might provide you with solace when you are feeling stressed or feeling at your wit’s end with the care giving experience. One of the main benefits of a support group is that it helps caregivers to see that they are not alone in their experience, as others are having some very similar experiences. This can make it easier to continue to do what it takes to care for their loved one.
Take Up a Hobby
Exploring a hobby is a beneficial way to help combat the stresses of care giving. Hobbies like gardening, crafts, and learning to play an instrument can give you valuable personal time to yourself. Letting your loved one get involved could also be a fun activity for them as well. Scrapbooking, for instance, is a wonderful way to preserve and discuss memories together, as well as promote some motor skills. Hobbies will also help you get through your busy week by giving you something special to look forward to.
We hope this Monday Mojo was beneficial for you and opened your eyes to some positive ideas to get you through your week. For more information or to join a support group, feel free to call us at 561-588-4545. Have a great week!