Managing your Care when Caring for Others

When caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia, be careful to manage your stress to prevent burnout.

What are Dementia and Alzheimer’s?

Dementia is an umbrella term for the loss of memory and other mental abilities that is severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is caused by physical changes in the brain.

Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia and usually results in difficulty with remembering recent events, names, and conversations. It is an irreversible and progressive disease, which eventually affects an individual’s memory, thought process, judgment, and behavior.

At Perennial Angels in Atlanta, we have the experience and care that you need to rest easy about your loved one’s care. Call today to schedule an in-home consultation.

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, which includes an individual’s struggle with remembering recent events, names, and conversations. 


Challenges Involved:

Caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia can create certain challenges.

COMMUNICATION

Communication can be especially challenging between the caregiver and the patient. Since an individual with Alzheimer’s or dementia may not remember names, conversations, or events, they may repeat questions, have difficulty finding the right words, easily lose their train of thought, and speak less frequently.

BEHAVIORS

Individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia can exhibit behavior changes including, depression, agitation, aggression, confusion, and suspicion. Be sure to remain calm and patient as you work to accept these behaviors as a part of the disease.

MEMORY LOSS

Memory loss may be mild in the early stages, but as the disease progresses, so will the extent of the loss of memory. You might be called the wrong name, not be recognized, or even remembered as your loved one loses their memory. 


Managing Caregiver Stress:

Providing care for individuals with these conditions can be both extremely rewarding and challenging. It’s important to remember to take care of yourself so that you can remain hopeful, energetic, and able to provide the care they need.

Indications of caregiver stress:

  • Feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and angry
  • Making mistakes when providing care
  • Feeling lonely or isolated
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Getting too much sleep
  • Rapidly gaining or losing a lot of weight
  • Constant feeling of being tired
  • Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Easily irritated
  • Constantly worried or sad
  • Frequent headaches or body aches

Self-care and stress management tips:

It’s important that you make it a priority to take care of yourself, both physically and emotionally. Finding the time to care for yourself with proper nutrition, exercise, and sleep — as well as getting support from family and friends — will help you to relieve stress and can prevent burnout.

Physical ways to manage stress:

  • Exercise
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Balanced diet
  • Pampering
  • Track your health
  • Plenty of sleep
  • Regular doctor check-ups

Mental/Emotional ways to manage stress:

  • Talk with friends
  • Seek support from family
  • Celebrate small victories
  • Applaud your own efforts
  • Enjoy laughing
  • Join a support group for caregivers
  • Ask for help
  • Set routines and stay organized
  • Meditate