Tuesday Tips for Caregivers – 10 Ways to be a Healthier Caregiver
It’s easy to become overwhelmed from being the primary caregiver to someone you know and love. The stress of constant worrying and depression can take a big toll on your body. Sometimes caregivers tend to put their own needs aside to stay focused on the person their caring for. By doing this, you may be putting yourself and your health at risk. There is no need to neglect your own physical, mental, or emotional well-being.
Here are 10 ways to become a healthier caregiver for the person you love and care for:
1. Understand what’s going on as early as possible
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s may appear gradually. It can be easy to explain away changing or unusual behavior when a loved one seems physically healthy. Instead, consult a doctor when you see changes in memory, mood or behavior. Don’t delay: some symptoms are treatable.
2. Know what community resources are available
Contact your ElderCare at Home. The staff can help you find Alzheimer’s care resources in your community. Live-in care, geriatric care management, and respite care are just a few of the services that can help you manage daily tasks.
3. Become an educated caregiver
As the disease progresses, new care giving skills may be necessary. ElderCare at Home has a program- Coaching for Caregivers to help you better understand and cope with the behaviors and personality changes that often accompany Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Get help
Trying to do everything by yourself will leave you exhausted. Seek the support of family, friends, and community resources. Tell others exactly what they can do to help. ElderCare at Home has a 24 hour crisis help line and local support groups which are great sources of comfort and reassurance.
5. Take care of yourself
Watch your diet, exercise, and get plenty of rest. Making sure that you stay healthy will help you to be a better caregiver.
6. Manage your level of stress
Stress can cause physical problems (blurred vision, stomach irritation, high blood pressure) and changes in behavior (irritability, lack of concentration, change in appetite). Note your symptoms. Use relaxation techniques that work for you, and talk to your doctor.
7. Accept changes as they occur
People with Alzheimer’s change and so do their needs. They may require care beyond what you can provide on your own. Becoming aware of community resources- from home care services to residential care- should make the transition easier. So will the support and assistance of those around you.
8. Make legal and financial plans
Plan ahead. Consult a professional to discuss legal and financial issues including advance directives, wills, estate planning, housing issues and long-term care planning. Involve the person with Alzheimer’s and family members whenever possible.
9. Give yourself credit, not guilt
Know that the care you provide does make a difference and you are doing the best you can. You may feel guilty because you can’t do more, but individual care needs change as Alzheimer’s progresses. You can’t promise how care will be delivered, but you can make sure that the person with Alzheimer’s is well cared for and safe.
10. Visit your doctor regularly
Take time to get regular check-ups, and be aware of what your body is telling you. Pay attention to any exhaustion, stress, sleeplessness or changes in appetite or behavior. Ignoring symptoms can cause your physical and mental health to decline.
To speak with us ElderCare at Home
Feel free to call us at (888) 285-0093. Thanks for joining us for today’s Tuesday Tips for Caregivers and we’ll see you again next week!