There is no such thing as a “regular day” in the life of someone with dementia – or, for the individual caring for them. The person may suddenly go from enjoying activities, laughing, and singing to sullen, angry, and aggressive. They may become caught in tearful repetitions of wishing to go “home.” Some might pace and wander. Sleep could be difficult, or it might be all the person wants to do.
It’s a huge honor to care for someone you love with dementia; yet if we’re truthful, it can also be tremendously frustrating and stressful. Our dementia care specialists are here to help you combat caregiver stress, however, with these recommended tips for restoring mental wellness, peace, and calm.
Most importantly, establish a network of support. It’s just not possible to provide care for someone you love with dementia by yourself. Taking time for yourself is essential to your own health in addition to that of the senior in your care. When family and friends ask how they can assist, give them concrete examples of your needs. That could be someone to spend an afternoon each week with the senior to play games, reminisce, participate 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 accept the help offered.
Additionally, join a support group (either online or in person) for dementia caregivers. You will find other people who can empathize with your challenges and supply useful tactics to help. Just knowing you have people to speak to who understand can provide amazing comfort.
Spend your downtime wisely. Once you have the assistance of others, take full advantage of your time to step away from providing care by engaging in activities that will help you relax and de-stress. A few ideas to help you get started include:
- Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, prayer, meditation, etc.
- Working out in whatever form is most satisfying for you: taking a walk, riding a bike, gardening, swimming, etc.
- Finding things you can do outside, where the fresh air and sunshine can help ease any tension you are feeling; grab a good book and a cup of tea and settle onto the porch swing
Take care of your own health needs. You may get so involved in making sure your senior family member’s doctor appointments are kept that your own have fallen off your radar. Make arrangements for a regular checkup and any other tests or treatments you’ve been putting off. Remember your mental health as well. If your stress level feels overwhelming, get in touch with a professional therapist for help.
Grace Home Care is a reliable provider of memory care in Topeka, KS and is committed to helping family care providers make time for self-care. Our knowledgeable dementia care team can offer exceptional care, day or night, while you take the time away you need. Reach out to us at 785-286-2273 for a free in-home consultation to learn more about our award-winning in-home care services.