As the holiday season approaches, it can often be accompanied by extra stress. For those caring for loved ones with dementia, the holidays can amplify an already challenging situation. Caregiving can take a toll on a caregiver’s health, not just during the holidays but throughout the year. Research shows that caregivers often neglect their own health while caring for their loved one. For this reason, it is especially important that caregivers get the support they need during the holidays. We’ve put together some tips for self care for dementia caregivers that can be helpful not only during the holidays, but throughout the year.
As a caregiver, you cannot stop the impact of dementia on your loved one, but you can take responsibility for your own personal health and well-being. Afterall, you can’t take care of your loved one if your health becomes impacted by the stress of caregiving. Following are some tips to help you get additional support.
It can be difficult to ask for help, especially if you feel as though all of the responsibility is on your shoulders. Identify tasks that you can ask for support from another family member, trusted friend, or professional. You might find that those you approach for support are eager to be there for you. And of course, you will directly benefit from having additional breathing room and space.
Try not to close yourself off from friends and family. Make it a point to reach out to those in your circle and maintain connections that are valuable to you. Keeping these connections is so important to your well being.
You might also consider seeking out a support group in the community. Clark offers a support group for residents’ family members. The group helps family members decompress and process all that’s happening with their loved one while also reminding them that they are not alone in their experiences. The Alzheimer’s Association has a “Support Group Finder” on their website that can help you find a group.
Be sure to prioritize your own health needs first. As the saying goes, put your own oxygen mask on before helping others. When life becomes stressful, it’s easy to forget about our own basic needs. Focus on things like eating regularly and sleeping well so you have the energy to continue to show up for your loved one.
When a major life occurrence alters our behavioral patterns, it’s easy to lose a bit of who we are and neglect prior enjoyments. Find ways to reinstate old routines and hobbies that you previously loved. While we understand it may be challenging, try not to sacrifice the tasks or events like going to the gym at 5PM or going to lunch with friends that make you happy or feel more complete
When caring for a loved one that’s been diagnosed with dementia, it’s important to also keep track of your own health needs. This means keeping up with your physicians’’ appointments. Get regular checkups, stay current on your vaccinations, and let your physician know that you are a caregiver. Talk openly with them about how it’s going and any concerns you may have.
As a caregiver, taking a break can have a positive impact on your physical and mental health. At Clark, we offer Respite Care. Your loved one will stay in one of our furnished suites for a short period of time and receive excellent care from our experienced, caring staff. They will also enjoy Clark’s activities and amenities. And as a caregiver, you’ll be able to reap benefits from our environment as well. With Respite Care, you can take the time you need to recharge, worry-free.
Our team understands the unique challenges of caring for a loved one with dementia. If you think your loved one could benefit from being part of Clark’s community, contact our senior living advisors at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616-278-6520 or fill out the form below to schedule a personalized consultation to discuss your unique situation and see if Clark is the right fit for your loved one.