The majority of people taking care of a loved one with dementia in the United States are not professional caregivers, and never planned to become a primary caregiver to an aging relative. As a result, stress and anxiety are very common and nothing to be ashamed of. You are NOT alone! Let’s look at some ways to relieve stress when caring for loved one with dementia.
Accepting help – sometimes it can be hard to just say “yes” to an offer of assistance but you need to sometimes. Otherwise you risk complete burnout and not being able to provide any care. What you might think is a burden for someone else might provide them with some fulfillment – helping feels good!
Have an open conversation with your family – one of the best ways to relieve stress when caring for loved one with dementia is to be honest with your family about your ability to provide the best care possible – something you can’t do without some time to yourself. Make it about the best situation for your loved one and your family will understand.
Stay connected with friends – we know you’re busy, but having a sounding board and emotional support outside of your family is one of the best ways to relieve stress when caring for loved one with dementia. Get a walking or jogging buddy to talk to.
Join a support group – you might be surprised to know there’s likely a caregiver support group right around the corner from you. This is also an opportunity to possibly find another family that can “share” care services during the day to give each other a break. Your loved one might even gain a new friend. Or, join a coaching organization that focuses on creating good habits and happiness.
Innovative Technologies - are emerging that may help your loved one to remain sharp and more independant, such as MindMate, which may make day to day living a bit easier.