As individuals age, they need more care. While still living independently, care begins with a family member or friend checking in; a telephone call or perhaps a lending hand. As time goes on, more care is required, often giving up much independence and relying on a spouse, a child or loved on to grocery shop, cook, clean and attend doctor appointments. As an individual’s needs change, particularly if they experience dementia or Alzheimer’s, the role of the caregiver often becomes more demanding and potentially burdensome. Caring for another is a selfless job; a true labor of love that involves making sacrifices. The ongoing care provided often causes stress and physical impairment and as time goes on, caregiving takes a toll on the caregiver’s health and wellbeing.
Creating a care plan and taking conscious steps to care for yourself, will allow you to stay physically and emotionally prepared to be the best caregiver you can be.
- Accept Help – Talk to family members or close friends about pitching in and allowing you some time to care for yourself. Assess the current care plan and determine if in home care is necessary and how often. Stay in touch with your own capabilities and recognize when the individual needs more care than you can provide daily.
- Inform Yourself – Knowledge can be powerful and can ease stress; read up on the individual’s diagnosis and talk to doctors as the individual’s care needs progress.
- Get Support – There are many online communities as well as classes in your neighborhood which can provide support. Other similarly situated individuals can provide an outlet to vent and provide encouragement to continue caregiving.
- Remember to Take Care of Yourself – While it is often difficult to sneak away, it is important to take time for yourself every day; listen to your body’s needs, and attend your own doctor’s appointments.
- Stay Positive – Try to focus on the things that went right today; focus on the individual’s abilities not on their inabilities.
For more information, you can reference caregiverstress.com or http://www.caregiverstress.com/dementia-alzheimers-disease/elder-care/5-ways-healthy-alzheimers-caregiver/.