Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s/dementia is one of the most challenging experiences anyone can go through. It is vitally important that family caregivers take the necessary steps to help offset stress and exhaustion.
- Join a support group. Caring for a loved one with cognitive impairment differs from other types of care experiences. Sharing ideas and coping mechanisms and learning about others’ journeys first-hand can be beneficial in that it provides practical, real-life knowledge and insight. The atmosphere is one of confidentiality, comfort and support among those who understand what you’re going through. Support groups also provide social engagement, which often falls by the wayside during an immersive caregiving experience. Social interaction contributes to brain health and overall well-being.
- Take care of your personal health. Many caregivers put aside their personal health needs when caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s/dementia. This takes a toll. Lack of self-care can lead to feelings of isolation, anxiety, fatigue, depression – even physical ailments. Make sure you tell your personal physician that you’re a caregiver so they can be proactive in helping you deal with the impact of your role. Also, carve out time to be physically active, eat with nutrition in mind, and try to get enough sleep.
- Ask for help. This is so important. Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease or other type of memory loss can be all-consuming. Sleep schedules are thrown off, conversations become repetitive, attending social events and gatherings becomes difficult for your loved one. Please reach out to other family members, friends or professionals who can care for your loved one while you take time for yourself. Go to an exercise class, continue with a hobby you love, have coffee with friends. Ask for help with groceries, cleaning, laundry, cooking. Be communicative with other family members and friends so they understand the responsibilities and can pitch in.
Most importantly, know that you are not alone in your journey. Many others are in the same situation and can offer support, guidance and a sympathetic ear.
Call us here at Memory Care of Simpsonville for information about support groups, to learn more about our residential community or to discuss our Respite Care program which offers a temporary stay for your loved one so you can take time to tend to your own needs. We look forward to assisting you. (864) 962-3038