You’ve put in a long day at work, taken the kids to practice, gotten food on the table. You’d love to kick back and relax, but your day isn’t over. As a caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, it can often feel like your day never ends, and stress and lack of sleep can take a dangerous toll on your body and mind. Caregiver burnout is a very real condition that can lead to, among other things, degrading health, depression and emotional outbursts, often directed at the person for whom you’re providing care.
It is important to take some preemptive steps to avoid burnout altogether. HelpGuide.org offers the following simple strategies that will fit into a caregiver’s most demanding days and can energize him/her against the pitfalls of excessive stress:
- Schedule mini-workouts throughout the day: Regular exercise not only keeps a person fit, it releases endorphins that keep a person happy.
- Take time to play: In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, loved ones should be included in short walks, board games or jigsaw puzzles. A daily dose of fun is good medicine for both caregiver and the patient.
- Try something new: Caregivers should challenge themselves to learn something new while “on the job.” With just a few minutes of practice each day, they can flex mental muscles and release harmful steam.
- Keep ’em laughing: Humor is a well-known antidote to stress, sadness, illness and boredom. Caregivers should give themselves permission to chuckle at the absurdities they and their loved one experience.
- Ask for help: For someone who is used to operating independently, the realities of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease can be a real eye-opener. Those with strong support systems, creative respite arrangements, and regular time away not only fare better, they also find more satisfaction in their caregiving roles.
For further tips on caregiving for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, click here.
At Live Free Home Health Care, we can ensure your loved one is well cared for when you need to find some me time. Contact us today to learn about how our respite care services can help you live a better, more fulfilled life as a family caregiver.