I chose to post this article, because we at Centennial Adultcare Center see firsthand, the stresses put on caregivers on a daily basis. It is very important for caregivers to be helped as well. The following is a great article with some great tips and advice for the caregiver. Included below is a link to the article which also has some materials and resources available to caregivers.
Written By: Sandy Spencer
Caring for an Alzheimer’s patient is not the same as a regular nursing assignment. Most caregivers are inexperienced family members who are caring for someone they love without wages and few thanks. Quite often, they also pay for much of the expense that does occur from their own pockets. Neither Medicare nor private Health Insurance covers the type of long-term care that most Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients need.
Caregivers are wives, and husbands, and daughters, and sons who bring their elderly family member into their homes and care for them out of love. The toll on the caregiver is huge. They suffer extreme fatigue, staying up all hours and going days or weeks without a break. So please be aware of such symptoms as :
sleeping too much or too little
gaining or losing a lot of weight
feeling tired most of the time
loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
becoming easily irritated or angered
feeling constantly worried
often feeling sad
frequent headaches, bodily pain, or other physical problems
abuse of alcohol or drugs, including prescription drugs
To prevent such feelings while you take care of a suffering loved one, remember to take care of yourself also! Don’t dismiss your own “feelings!” How you are feeling matters. If you see that you’re feeling any of the things in the list above, take a problem-solving view. What can you do to make it better–
Recognize which problem you can do something about and which ones you can not
Be realistic about how much you can do
Forgive yourself – no one is perfect, and we all make mistakes
Find out which resources are available in your area-Remember the Adult Day Care Centers we discussed in the post about choosing a Nursing Home
And, most importantly ASK other family members for help
Try to create a TEAM effort from the family; perhaps rotating days of care among them to allow time off for you
Keep your sense of humor and find a friend you can talk to–a group meeting would be great if you have one in your area
Find time for a nap, hot bath, short walk, or something that makes you feel good
If your stress is not relieved by simple measures like those above, see a counselor or mental health professional
If you’re a caregiver, I understand how you feel and realize how tiring it can become. Sometimes there are books that can be a great help. They encourage you in ways to do important things for yourself, how to accept the different role reversals that take place during care-giving situations, and much more.
Find some time for yourself, and know that we at Centennial Adultcare Center know the difficulty of being a caregiver, and fully support the needs of caregivers!