April 5, 2018
When you are a family caregiver for an elderly adult who is living with Alzheimer’s disease, something that you can expect to experience with increasing intensity throughout your journey with the disease is stress. Feeling some stress is a normal part of life, but when you are caring for an elderly adult who is dealing with the challenges that come with dementia you may find that this stress becomes much more prevalent and serious.
Stress is not just uncomfortable. It can also put you at serious risk for other complications and challenges, including fatigue, increased vulnerability to illness and infection, mental and emotional health issues, and others. Finding ways to manage your stress is an important part of protecting your own health and well-being, as well as ensuring that you can be the best quality caregiver possible for your senior as they progress through their disease.
Use these tips to help you manage your stress when caring for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease:
-Schedule time for yourself by penciling it into your calendar and treating it just like you would treat any other appointment or obligation. Consider this a non-negotiable so that you will stick to taking time to yourself and relaxing
-Schedule activities with your partner. Whether it is a weekly date night, a special outing every couple of weeks, or even a getaway a few months down the line, having something to look forward to creates a light at the end of the tunnel so that you have something to focus on when you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed
-Find something to laugh about every day. Even if it is watching an old favorite television show or movie, listening to comedy on the radio, or reading something silly, taking a moment to laugh during the day released endorphins and provides relaxation and a better mental state
-Take a few moments each day to journal about how you are feeling. Give yourself permission to express yourself fully and be totally honest
-Find favorite fragrances that relax you and make sure that you have access to them during your care day. This could be using a particular air freshener in your car, wearing a certain perfume, or having one of your partner’s shirts with you. Breathing in this smell will boost your spirits and make you less anxious
-Join a support group to discuss what you are going through and get advice, support, and guidance, as well as reassurance, from those who have been in that place before and gotten through it
How can elder care help?
Being a family caregiver for an elderly adult can be stressful and challenging. Fortunately, home care can be there for you to ease this stress and make the journey easier and more fulfilling for your aging parent and for you. A care provider can be in the home with your parent on a schedule that is customized to your parent’s needs as well as the time that you are able to devote to caring for them so that your senior has access to the level of care that is right for them.
Through these highly personalized services, a care provider can ensure that your parent has the support, care, and assistance that they need to manage their daily needs, fulfill activities of daily living, maintain medication compliance, manage their health challenges, and stay as independent and active as possible as they age in place. This can help them to maintain a higher quality of life throughout their later years and support a better lifestyle for you as well.