Are you a caregiver, family member, or friend living the 36-hour day? We are here to help!
Helpful Tips for Caregivers
As the population of Alzheimer’s sufferers grows, more and more family members have been called into the caregiver role and the astonishingly difficult and upside-down world of dementia care. If you or a loved one identifies with this, read on!
With no real treatment for the disease and no cure on the horizon, one’s own home can feel like a prison of sorts, both for the afflicted person and the caregiver.
The daily frustrations and unpredictability of behaviors such as disrupted sleep patterns, agitation and anxieties, and for some, the need for constant watchfulness drain a caregiver’s energy and resources, putting themselves at greater risk for depression, co-morbidities such as diabetes, and even dementia! This sacrifice is often insidious and compounds in unacknowledged ways like the proverbial “frog in the boiling pot”.
Caregiver Self-care is extremely important for all involved. We cannot give what we do not have! So, if this is you, listen up to these helpful tips!
- First of all, be kind to yourself! Give yourself some much-needed kudos for the incredibly challenging work that you do! And make some time for yourself! Without guilt! Consider it a prescription for your health and wellbeing —because it truly is!
- Ask some others to give some time, so you can escape without worry, or hire a professional helper for a few hours. This is an investment in you and your loved one!
- For a true “quick fix” in a stressful moment, slow your breathing down to four to six breaths per minute. This has an immediate effect of activation the prefrontal cortex (our rational brain) and increasing “heart rate variability” which means that our physiology entrains to a calmer rhythm. We shift from stress mode to a feeling of in-control.
- Move your body! Exercise has been shown to be one of, if not the, most successful stress reliever around! Walking is fantastic for the entire body, and with an eye to the beauty around you, you get a double hit of benefit!
- Eat well! Nutrition and exercise are at the top of the list for preserving and enhancing brain health and truly ALL health! Good nutrition helps prevent burnout as well as inflammation – the great villain in all disease processes!
- Hydrate! When dehydrated, we are cranky and more prone to infections – therefore good hydration is especially important at this time of year! Water is the best hydrator – flavor it with mint or lemon. Teas without caffeine are good as well. Remember that coffee and black tea actually dehydrate us! So that means an extra glass of water for every cup of coffee or tea consumed!
- Get social; stay connected! Friends and family can be a great bulwark against the weightiness of the challenges of caregiving!
- Join a support group! No one understands better than those in your shoes what it really means to be traveling this strange and unknown territory of “dementia world.” Insights, strategies, encouragement, acknowledgment, and empathy are the gifts of a good support group.
The key takeaway here is self-compassion and self-care! We cannot give what we do not have! Give yourself nourishment and support on every level, in order to greet those 36-hour days with energy and positivity!
Call for information on a Memory Care Support Group at Sun and Sea Manor, held every month, and let us help you with your caregiving needs.
Call us now for details and collect your Thank You offer (619) 500-7046
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