There is no U in Alzheimer’s, but it can sometimes seem like it’s all you. You, who’s doing the caregiving; you, who’s doing the worrying; you, who never seems to be able to make up those sleepless nights.
If you’re caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, there may be someone else who needs your care just as much: YOU.
Which is why it’s important to be aware of your needs and how you can address them. It will not only help you stay healthier and less stressed, it might just make you a better caregiver.
At Home Instead Senior Care, we have found that many issues of caregiver stress can be improved when a caregiver is able to share some responsibilities with others, whether they are family members, community volunteers, or in-home senior care agencies like us.
But for those who long ago accepted the responsibilities that go with caregiving, it may be difficult to know how to ask for help. Here are a few ideas that others have found helpful.
Pick your support team: Make a list of people that you know you can count on to help you and then ask for their help. It doesn’t need to be a formal arrangement, but let them know that there might be times when you would like to call upon them to sit in for you for a bit, run an errand, or simply lend an ear. Remember, not everyone has to be as qualified for caregiving as you are to help out. Even a child or an out-of-town relative might be able to do something to assist you.
If you don’t think anyone understands what you’re going through, find people who do: There are Alzheimer’s support groups in every community but it can often be difficult for a family caregiver to get away. That’s where the Alzheimer’s Association message board comes in handy. Available 24/7 and with more than 9,000 registered members from all over the US, the message board is a valuable resource to connect with others who may be going through a similar experience to yours.
Make your health a MUST: Your own health is so important and so easy to let slide when you’re caring for someone else. Choose to prioritize it: don’t skip your physician’s appointments, eat as healthily as you can and figure out ways to build exercise into your day. Also, try to make time to do at least one thing for yourself. It may be as simple as spending five minutes in prayer or meditation, but it will help.
For more information about caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, contact Home Instead Senior Care of Central Oregon at phone number (541) 330-6400 or Like us on Facebook. You an also visit helpforalzheimersfamilies.com.
Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.
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