Caregivers are some of the strongest people in the world with struggles ranging from helping their patients with daily tasks to dealing with their own family dilemmas. Caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients will face several challenges while caring for a loved one. Emotional distress and learning to cope with the patient’s disease is most commonly identified stessor for caregivers. Not only are the actual tasks of providing care taxing, but having to see the person you truly care for suffer can make care giving even more challenging.
Here are some helpful strategies for you, the caregiver:
While your job can be difficult, caregivers may find these strategies helpful throughout their loved one’s Alzheimer’s experience.
1. Educate Yourself
Learn about the disease and treatment, methods to reduce side effects, ways to help the patient cope emotionally and resources to support both you and your loved one. Knowing what to expect from your loved one will help you prevent accidents and obstacles. When your loved one has a good day, celebrate it! It means you’ve done your job well.
2. Get Organized
The medical-related tasks, appointments and medications, not to mention all the other nonmedical duties that are given to caregivers, can sometimes seem never-ending. When you make it to an appointment on time, celebrate it! Get happy about sticking to your schedule. You’re doing a good job.
3. Care for Yourself
It’s important for caregivers to take breaks to refuel and relax. Time away from the care giving role can offer an emotional and physical break. Caring for someone is not easy. It’s perfectly okay to feel exhausted and crave time away from these tough responsibilities. Caring for yourself helps avoid caregiver burnout and reaching that point where you can no longer care at all. When you take time for yourself, celebrate it! Celebrate your time anyway you want, take a nap, go see a movie, visit with friends. Do something you love and enjoy it.
4. Seek Additional Support
You may want to consider joining a local support group or speaking with a counselor. When you make a breakthrough in your support group, celebrate it! You have taken the time to better yourself by joining the support group, be proud of yourself.
By celebrating the triumphs in care giving, you are celebrating yourself and the work you do. It takes a special kind of person to do the work of a caregiver, so take pride in all the care you provide. Remember, the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center is always here for you. We offer caregiver support groups every week. To join a support group, call us at 561-588-4545. Thank you for joining me today and have a great week!