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Five Self-care Strategies for Family Caregivers of Alzheimer’s Patients

Alzheimer's Care in Chatham NJ
Alzheimer's Care in Chatham NJ

Family caregivers face a lot of stressful situations, particularly if their aging family members are battling issues like Alzheimer’s disease. In order to take better care of themselves, family caregivers need to try a few different strategies, including enlisting the help of Alzheimer’s care providers on a regular basis. Putting a plan together means looking a little more closely at what is getting more difficult and figuring out how to resolve the challenges involved.

Set Realistic Expectations

One of the biggest challenges that family caregivers experience is that they often don’t have realistic expectations, particularly for themselves. They tend to believe that they could or should be doing more and that they should be self-contained, meaning they should be handling their senior’s needs on their own. But that is likely completely unrealistic, especially with all of the other demands life throws their way. Making those expectations more realistic and acknowledging that they might need help is a good first step.

Managing Stress and Burnout

Caregiving is a stressful experience, particularly if the person receiving care has Alzheimer’s disease. Family caregivers need to acknowledge how they’re feeling, whether those feelings are frustration and sadness or hope for the future. Staying connected with other people in their lives can help family caregivers to maintain a handle on their own stress levels and avoid burnout.

Maintaining Personal Health

Burning the candle at both ends sounds a lot more powerful than it is in reality. For family caregivers, this typically means that they’re not getting the rest they need, they’re not eating well, and exercise may be something long forgotten. If family caregivers aren’t taking care of themselves, they’re not in a position to truly be able to care for anyone else, including the senior with Alzheimer’s disease.

Respite Care and Taking Breaks

Because of incorrect expectations they often have about themselves and what they should be doing, family caregivers often deny themselves breaks or time away. Alzheimer’s care providers can be there to help seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, allowing family caregivers to take time away. Using that time for regular time off helps family caregivers establish clear and safe boundaries that allow them to rest.

Explore Resources and Assistance

Letting Alzheimer’s care providers take over and handle some of the caregiving duties is more important than family caregivers often realize. Sharing the responsibilities helps to lighten the load overall, creates room to breathe, and is a huge part of preventing caregiver burnout. When family caregivers are able to delegate to someone they trust, it’s a lot easier to make sure that their senior’s needs are being met.

Caring for an aging family member who has Alzheimer’s disease is a demanding commitment. By focusing a little on their own needs, family caregivers can balance out their own needs with the needs of the person they love.

Alzheimer’s care services offer valuable support that can be there to pick up the slack, provide respite care, and offer peace of mind when families need it most.

If you or a senior loved one needs Alzheimer’s care in Chatham, NJ or surrounding areas, please call our friendly staff at 908-590-1759.

Lorraine Arkaifie, MSN, AGPCNP-BC
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