Caring for the Caregiver: Practical ways of helping you care for a person with memory loss and confusion-helping you help others. Tips for caregivers.
Caring for a person with memory loss and confusion can be stressful and exhausting. These tips can help you find the support you need.
- Ask for Help:
*Ask a friend to fix dinner or a relative to help out for an hour each week.
*Make a list of ways others can help. When a friend asks, “What can I do?” have them choose from a list.
*Don’t wait for a crisis. Ask for and accept help on a regular basis.
*Even if asking is hard, find at least one resource you can use right away.
2. Express your feelings:
*Recognize that feelings of frustration, sadness, anger and depression are normal under the circumstances.
*Talk about your feelings with a friend, relative, counselor or caregiver support group.
3. Take care of your health:
*Make sure you are eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity and getting plenty of rest.
*Learn and use stress reduction techniques.
*Don’t put off your own medical care. Talk with your doctor about getting flu shots and other preventive care.
4. Learn about the disease:
*Find out about the different forms and stages of dementia so that you are not taken by surprise when new behaviors occur.
*If you can, provide information to family and friends so they will know how to best to support you.
5. Avoid Isolation:
*Pursue a hobby or take a class. Join a reading or discussion group.
*Become active in a community organization.
6. Talk with professionals:
*Contact a social worker or your local social services agency to help you find out about caregiving resources.
*Talk with an attorney or legal aid service about legal issues. Many areas have free or low-cost legal aid available.
*Talk with an accountant about finances.
*Find a counselor or therapist to help you deal with your feelings.
7. Look for signs of burnout:
*Not taking care of your own health, feeling lonely, crying or losing your temper more than usual are all signs that you may need some help.
*Take an honest look at your use of sedatives and alcohol. Have a doctor or counselor help you evaluate your use.
*Find someone to talk to if you feel discouraged, frustrated, trapped or over-burdened.
*Seek professional help if you are depressed or thinking about suicide.
8. Give yourself a treat:
*Buy yourself a present such as a favorite magazine or new clothes.
*Watch a sunset.
*Put your feet up and listen to a symphony or a ball game on the radio.
*Order dinner from your favorite restaurant and have it delivered.
*Buy yourself flowers.
9. Take time for yourself:
*Consider using respite care, homecare or adult day care.
*Schedule regular time for yourself. Plan to spend an hour each day or an afternoon once a week away from caregiving.
*Consider taking a vacation.
*If time or money is a concern, be creative! Ask for help from friends or relatives and use community services. You are worth it!
*Remember, you will be better able to care for another if you take time for yourself.
10. Investigate local services:
*Find out if meals are delivered to seniors or home-bound people in your area.
*Contact your local senior center to help you find resources.
*Find out about assisted living facilities. Even if you do not want to use one now, you may need to in the future.
Disclaimer: this information was taken directly from the Journeyworks Publishing pamphlet written by Mardi Richmond. The information is helpful to all caregiver and please look at Journeyworks other pamphlets. They are a huge source of information and advice on helping caregivers. These pamphlets are available in most Nursing facilities.
To all follow caregivers, please take care of yourself first! You can’t take care of anyone if you do not look out for yourself.
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