As a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, it can be all too easy to lose sight of what you need to maintain your own physical and mental wellbeing. Not only will neglecting personal health render you less effective in your caregiving, it can have serious near and long term effects like emotional burnout, depression and even physical ailments. Below are a handful of things to keep in mind that will help you maintain a healthy and sustainable balance between your role as a caregiver and your personal life.
First and foremost, acknowledge the aforementioned point about your well-being being a crucial part of the care you provide. If you are not well, you will not be able to adequately care for your loved one. These two are intertwined, and it is important to take the time to be mindful of that. Taking time to care for yourself is not a selfish act nor something to feel guilty about but a part of the caregiving whole.
Reserve time for your own appointments and other obligations. If you need to schedule a doctor’s appointment, see a counselor, meet with a business colleague, or perform other necessary life tasks, be sure to leave time to do so. If your loved one requires constant care, ask a friend or family member a quick break, or look into facilities or adult care programs that offer flexible, daytime assistance. Though it may seem necessary in the moment, neglecting important parts of your own life will only exacerbate stress and lead to larger problems down the road.
Save time for exercise! Exercise is one of the best remedies for the mind and the body and is a great way to take a quick break to recharge during the day. This could be anything from a rigorous gym workout to a leisurely walk around the block.
Do not be bashful or stubborn about asking for help and advice. It is unreasonable to expect yourself to have all the answers and cover all the bases. The care of another individual is not a burden that one person alone should shoulder. Reach out to medical professionals and other people with experience in this type of care, and be open to the advice and ideas they provide. Ask a family member or friend to care for your loved one for a bit while you run errands or take a much-need break for lunch or a movie with a friend. These recesses are absolutely vital to maintaining a healthy mental state and the energy to properly provide attentive care.
Put on your learning cap. The internet has put an unbelievable amount of information and resources at our fingertips. Many communities provide local resources as well, like training seminars, support groups, financial aid, in-home care and other services that can help immensely in your caregiving endeavor. We provide many of these services here at Regency Memory Care and it would be our pleasure to discuss how we can assist you in caring for your loved one. Give us a call today!