Contributing Writer: Lori Thomas, Associate Editor SeniorAdvice.com
Taking on the role of an Alzheimer’s caregiver is a major responsibility. There are millions of people today who dedicate their lives to taking care of a family member or loved one who has this condition.
Alzheimer’s caregivers are often faced with numerous challenges and heartaches on a daily basis, and due to the nature of their selfless condition, many Alzheimer’s caregivers fail to take care of themselves in the way they should.
This often leads to severe burnout when the caregiver fails to take care of themselves properly.
This can be a difficult balance for any caregiver. However, the most important thing for Alzheimer’s caregivers to remember is the more they take care of themselves, the better caregivers they will be.
With this in mind, here are seven easy self-care tips that any Alzheimer’s caregiver should consider. While it can be difficult as an Alzheimer’s caregiver to force yourself to do these things, they will only better you and your loved one in the end.
1. Join a Support Group – There are many support groups out there for different types of caregivers and these groups can really help you gain perspective and get that social support that can be so important.
Many Alzheimer’s caregivers feel isolated, or alone, which can only make caregiving more difficult. These support groups are there to help. Some support groups are set up to be more therapeutic, while others are more social, you simply need to find the type of group that works for you.
Related TinT Resource:
3 Places to Get Caregiver Support
2. Pick Up a New Hobby – Introduce something new into your routine to help you feel like you still have your independence. This can be joining a new gym, picking up knitting, or anything else that’s always interested you. It just needs to be about you.
3. Schedule Relaxation Time Every Day – Whether it is going on a short walk, meditating, praying, reading or taking a bubble bath. You need just 15 minutes a day doing something that is solely for you and that is all about relaxation. A little relaxation time can go a long way.
4. Laugh – You have to be able to laugh in this situation. There are going to be many difficult things that come your way, but the more that you are able to laugh, and find joy even in the little moments, the lighter you will feel. If all else fails, pop in your favorite sitcom at the end of the day and have a good laugh.
5. Exercise – Nothing is as important as getting out and exercising when you take on a demanding and stressful job like caregiving. This will help you release some of that pent up stress, find time for yourself, and release some endorphins that will help you stay as positive as possible.
6. Take People Up On Their Offers to Help – This is something that many caregivers struggle with, but it is so important. If a friend, family member or fellow caregiver offers to step in and help with something, don’t feel like you need to dismiss their offer. Take them up on it. It will be good for you.
7. Spend Time With Those You Love – There are so many caregivers that deal with loneliness, depression and isolation due to the overwhelming responsibility of their job. Don’t let this happen to you. Make sure that you are spending time with the people that you love the most.
While your loved one with Alzheimer’s may require a lot of attention, don’t forget about your other family members and friends.
Make the effort to really dedicate some time to self care and stress relief. The more that you do, the better you will feel and the better your loved one will be, in the hands of a happy, balanced, rested caregiver.
Taking care of yourself with these simple tips will only help you moving forward as you continue to be the best caregiver you can be.
Related Article on SeniorAdvice.com:
Ways to Reduce Stress for Caregivers
About the Author: Lori Thomas has over a decade of writing experience in the health, legal, and consulting industries. Her writing for SeniorAdvice.com is informed by years of research as well as hands-on family expertise.
Lori has experience as a caregiver with her now late mother, who had chronic health issues for most of her life. She has a B.S. in Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University. Lori lives in Austin, TX and enjoys traveling, yoga and spiritual exploration.
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