Family members and loved ones deal with a lot of stress when a person is diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s. A diagnosis like this can be incredibly scary for everyone around, and it can often lead to depression in caregivers. The golden rule in rendering aid when your loved one has dementia is that you cannot provide care if you haven’t first taken care of yourself. In this post we will detail some ways to avoid caregiver burnout.
Exercise for health, memory, and less depression
Believe it or not, exercise has a lot of scientifically proven benefits beyond having more muscles. Exercising 20 minutes a day has been linked to “less depression, better memory and quicker learning. Studies also suggest that exercise is, as of now, the best way to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.” (Time.com)
You know that greasy, heavy feeling you get when you’ve just binged eaten a large meal from the drive-through down the road? Yeah that’s not just in your head. It can be tempting when caring for another person to grab fast-food for most meals – you never seem to have enough time and it always feels easier.
If you can afford it, you should definitely try to cook healthy at home. If you don’t have the time or cash for wholesome home cooked meals, stay away from the fried stuff when you go out. You’ll feel better overall, and that can help lend you patience and energy when you might be running low on either or both.
Join a Dementia/Alzheimer’s Caregiver Group
You may have read that headline and scoffed to yourself, but having a support network of people going through the same thing you are is invaluable. If you aren’t huge on face to face interactions, there are plenty of ways you can join a dementia caregiver group online, where you can participate with others when you feel up to it or have questions.
Some great places to start are:
Learn the best ways to communicate with someone who has dementia/Alzheimer’s
Knowledge is power, and relearning to communicate with someone who has dementia can help stymie frustration, anger and exhaustion. There are a lot of incredible resources for learning how to communicate with those who have dementia. Remember to speak simply, build routines, and speak positively. Armed with the the ability to clearly communicate with your loved one and copious amounts of patience, you are sure to lead a happier life.
Deborah Hansen, Owner and Administrator of Landmark Memory Care recommends the following when communicating with a loved one:
“Try not to use the word “No”, which immediately puts people in an adversarial position, use short statements and try not to ask questions and don’t worry about trying to correct “incorrect” memories, just live in their reality whatever that is at the moment.”
Additional resources with the latest research in communication techniques can be found here:
Let professional dementia/Alzheimer’s caregivers assist
Sometimes caring for a loved one with dementia is too much for any single person to handle, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. At Landmark Memory Care, staff that are specially trained in Alzheimer’s care are on site 24/7 and are paired with your loved one.This continuity of care provides an opportunity for relationships to develop and enhances the ability to recognize any changes that may occur. Our Care Partners continue to encourage independence, offer a helping hand as needed and provide assistance, with compassion and respect, while maintaining your loved one’s dignity. With the help of professional dementia caregivers, you can obtain respite care for the day, or the weekend, or whatever you need. To learn more about respite care and other options for your loved one, please contact us today.