Wednesday Workshop – 9 Tips for New Caregivers
If a loved one recently received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, there are some steps you can take to help manage some of the stress and worry that you might be experiencing.
- Know what resources are available. Adult day care, in-home assistance, visiting nurses and Meals-on Wheels are just some of the services that can help you. Find out what’s available in your community.
- Become an educated caregiver. As the disease progresses, new caregiving skills will become necessary. The Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center can provide you with information and resources on all aspects of the disease.
- Get help. You are not failing as a caregiver by asking others for assistance. Seek the support of family, friends and community resources.
- Take care of yourself. Watch your diet, exercise and get plenty of rest. Make time for friends and family. Take advantage of respite care options so you can take a break once in a while.
- Manage your stress level. If you experience any of the symptoms of caregiver stress, try relaxation techniques that work for you and consult your doctor to learn if there’s anything further you can do.
- Accept changes as they occur. People with Alzheimer’s will change, and so will their daily needs. They often require care beyond what you can provide –and it’s important that you don’t try to do everything yourself.
- Make legal and financial plans. At the beginning of your duties as a caregiver, consult an attorney to discuss legal, financial and care issues. Whenever possible, involve the person with Alzheimer’s and family members.
- Be realistic. Many of the behaviors that occur are beyond your control and the control of the person with Alzheimer’s. You will need to find time alone or with supportive friends to grieve and be angry.
- Give yourself credit, not guilt. You are doing the best you can. Don’t feel guilty because you can’t do more. The person with Alzheimer’s needs you, and you are there.