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.