Alzheimer’s is a disease known for an immense toll; it is hard to watch a person lose themselves, all while they become more and more difficult to care for.
The physical and emotional stress these caregivers deal with is immense. They must carefully watch a loved one, doing their best to maintain that person’s health, as they inevitably fade away. All the while, the Alzheimer’s patient may grow combative or even forget their caregiver altogether.
Today we’ve gathered a few tips together to help Alzheimer’s caregivers get some relief. These tips have helped many people find some respite and we hope they can help you too.
1. Acknowledge Your Personal Stress
Feeling stressed about Alzheimer’s care makes some people feel guilty. You may fall into the trap of thinking that because the patient you’re caring for is dying, you’re not allowed to feel stressed yourself.
Caregiver stress is a real, prevalent issue. Alzheimer’s care takes immense work and can carry very little acknowledgment. At a certain point, the patient won’t be in a place to even understand what you’re doing for them.
You can have empathy for a patient without pretending your own pain does not exist. In acknowledging your stress, it will then also be easier to try and come to healthy solutions that may help reduce it.
2. Practice Self-Care
We admit that this is easier said than done, but it’s important as a caregiver to practice self-care. You should be taking time out of each day to do things for yourself.
Exercise, meditation, connecting with friends, or even just practicing deep breathing are known methods to reduce stress. Find what works for you and try to take time out of each day, however little time you may have, to try one or two of the methods that work best.
3. Consider Respite Visits
Perhaps the biggest stressor of being an Alzheimer’s caregiver is the sheer time commitment. It’s here that respite visits can be a big relief to longtime caregivers.
If you live with an Alzheimer’s patient or are otherwise their sole caregiver, you aren’t going to have much time for leisure or to spend time with friends. What’s unfortunate is this doesn’t just have a toll on you; stress impacts our ability to help others too.
One option to mitigate this wearing down is hiring a respite carer. These services have a trained professional go to the home of the patient and care for them while their regular caregiver is free to pursue other interests (or just rest at home).
These relief visits are good for everyone involved. The professional carer can help the patient pursue their own interests while staying safe. Meanwhile, you get to recharge your batteries and spend time doing things you otherwise could not.
Alzheimer’s Caregivers Don’t Have An Easy Job
Alzheimer’s is hard on everyone involved. It is a slow-moving, end-of-life disease that requires a patient receive a lot of attentive care.
If you’re an Alzheimer’s caregiver, be sure to allow yourself the time to work on your own mental health. In the end, it will help both you and the patient, as you’ll be able to pursue caregiving with more energy and patience.