6 obvious — but often overlooked — helpers when you’re caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia
By Paula Spencer, Caring.com senior editor
Taking care of yourself while you care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease
Most people simply dive in to the responsibility of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease and then take it one day at a time. Fair enough. But before you find yourself combating both his disease and your own emotional strain and battle fatigue, be sure you have these stress-busters on your side.
Don’t even think of skimming by this one. You really do need to come first on the priority list, not last. It’s almost too easy to neglect your own needs when you’re juggling caregiving, a job, a marriage, and children.
But just as with tending to a child, caring for a sick person can be depleting. If you fail to keep an eye on your own mental and physical health, you’re vulnerable to everything from colds and other illnesses right up to burnout.
No one can keep up with the round-the-clock demands of Alzheimer’s care — even in the early stages — without periodic relief. Indeed, caregiver burnout is a primary reason Alzheimer’s patients enter nursing homes.
Make time for yourself every single day, even if it’s just a 20-minute walk while a neighbor pays a visit. Don’t abandon all your former interests and hobbies to support someone with Alzheimer’s.
You don’t have to eat the same food as him (especially if he’s down to simple, easy-to-manage foods), but neither do you have to subsist on drive-through fare. Stock up on nutritious, easy-to-grab snacks if time is an issue.
Home care counselors at Safe at Home Healthcare are available to talk with you about your in-home care needs including how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable care, including live-in care. We are an elder care agency providing Home Care in Naperville.