There is no such thing as a “typical day” in the life of someone with dementia – or, for the individual providing their care. The person may suddenly go from laughing, singing, and enjoying activities to aggressive, sullen, and angry. They might become caught in tearful repetitions of wanting to go “home.” They may pace and wander. Sleeping might be tough, or it may possibly be all they wish to do.
It is a distinct honor to serve as a dementia caregiver for someone you love; yet if we are candid, it can also be very frustrating and demanding. Our dementia care specialists are here to help, however, with these important tips for lowering stress and restoring mental wellness, peace, and calm to family care providers.
First off, build a community of support. It is simply not plausible to take care of a person you love with dementia without any help. Taking time for yourself is vital to your personal health in addition to that of the senior in your care. When friends and family ask how they can assist, give them tangible examples of your needs. That could mean a friend to spend an afternoon every week with the senior to play games, reminisce, take part in hobbies or exercise, etc. Perhaps preparing meals or helping with housework and laundry would be a welcome relief. Or maybe it is a ride to religious services each weekend. Then graciously welcome the help offered.
Additionally, sign up for a support group (either online or in person) for dementia caregivers. You will find other individuals who can empathize with your struggles and give useful approaches that can help. Just knowing you have got people to talk to who understand can provide incredible relief.
Spend your downtime wisely. When you have the help of others, make use of your time to step away from providing care by engaging in activities so that you can relax and de-stress. A few ideas to help you get started include:
- Relaxation practices such as yoga, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, prayer, meditation, etc.
- Exercising in whatever form is most enjoyable for you: going on a walk, mowing the lawn, working in the garden, swimming, etc.
- Finding things to do outside, where the fresh air and sunshine can help ease any stress you may be feeling; grab a good book and your favorite beverage and settle onto the porch swing
Take care of your health care needs. You may get so involved in making sure your senior family member’s medical appointments are kept that your own have taken a back seat. Schedule time for a routine checkup and any additional tests or procedures you’ve been putting off. Don’t forget your mental health as well. If your anxiety level feels overwhelming, get in touch with a professional counselor for help.
Compassionate Nursing Services is a trusted expert in senior care in Chesterfield, MO and throughout the surrounding areas. We understand the importance of helping dementia caregivers make time for self-care. Our professional dementia care team can offer excellent care, day or night, while you take the time away you need. Call us at 314-432-4312 for a complimentary in-home assessment to find out more.