According to the Alzheimer’s Association, those that are caring for a person with a form of dementia report that they frequently experience high levels of stress. Too much stress can be damaging to both a caregiver and the person with dementia.
Signs and Symptoms of Caregiver Stress
- Social Withdrawal
- Lack of Concentration
- Other Health Problems
If you are not able to maintain a healthy lifestyle for yourself then you may not be able to provide continued support for the person who you are caring for.
Be a Healthy Caregiver
- Know what resources are available – Adult day cares are a great way of helping you get the help that you need. Also, visiting nurses, visiting caregiver programs or meals on wheels can help provide you with assistance.
- Become and educated caregiver – As the disease progresses, new caregiving skills are necessary. Check with your local aging office or hospital for upcoming educational sessions.
- Get Help – There are many places that you can get help or assistance from others. This does not mean that you are failing as a caregiver. ASK FOR HELP!!!
- Take care of yourself – Watch your diet, exercise and get plenty of rest. Also, make time for you to go shopping or have lunch with a friend, this will help you better care for your loved one.
- Manage your stress levels – Stress can cause physical problems and changes in your behavior. If you experience symptoms of caregiver stress, use relaxation techniques that work for you and consult your doctor.
- Accept changes as they occur – People with Alzheimer’s or another form of memory impairment or health concern change and so do their needs. They may often require beyond what you are able to provide so reach out for help.
- Legal and Financial Planning – Consult an attorney to discuss legal, financial and care issues.
- Be realistic – Some of the behaviors are beyond your control and the control of the person that you are caring for. Grieve your losses, but also focus on the positive moments.
- Give yourself credit, not guilt – You are doing the best that you can. Don’t feel guilty because you can not do more. Your loved one needs you!
Resources Available to You
- Alzheimer’s Association 24 hour help line: 800-272-3900
- Bergen County Office on Aging: 201-336-7400
Posted January 2020. Information taken from Alzheimer’s Association: www.alz.org.