You see your mother slowly slipping away. Every month it seems to get worse. She forgets names and faces. At times she is depressed, and even violent. Where is that confident, vivacious woman, who used to do crossword puzzles and run after her grandkids in the park? She is now a shadow of who she used to be.
Dementia can bring grief to a family if it is not handled correctly. As the disease progresses, it can become harder to remember that your loved one is still here. The emotional strain is accompanied by the practical challenges of caring for your loved one’s emotional, financial, and bodily needs.
Dementia is not only difficult for your elderly loved one, but it can also be heart-wrenching and stressful for your entire family. If your loved one is suffering from dementia, it is crucial to ensure that you have the support you need. You cannot help someone else without helping yourself first.
Tips for caregivers of dementia patients
Caregivers of dementia patients are subject to extreme stress. Without proper self-care, it is common to develop feelings of anger, resentment, guilt, and hopelessness. Depression is a frequent result of being a full-time caregiver.
With these tips, you can minimize stress and improve the relationship between you and your loved one.
- Take care of your own physical and mental health. Make sure you make time to eat properly, sleep, socialize, and relax. If you are exhausted and drained, you will not be in the position to care for someone else. You may need help from friends, family, or professionals to free up your time, but it is worth it.
- Learn about the disease. This will better prepare you to handle challenges caused by dementia. You may be surprised to identify some of the symptoms of dementia in your loved one.
- Respect and understand your loved one. Even when they yell at you or act violent, this is often a manifestation of the disease and not a reflection of their love or appreciation for you.
- Plan fun activities together. People with dementia can still enjoy a walk in the park or a trip to the zoo, depending on their circumstances.
- Maintain physical closeness. As the disease progresses, holding hands, hugs, and eye contact become an increasingly effective way to connect.
- Give them independence when possible, even though it may be tempting to do everything for your loved one.
- Be with them in the present. Don’t try to change your loved one back into the person they used to be. Find ways to love them as they are right now.
Get the support you need
In the US alone, over 15 million people care for someone with Alzheimers or dementia. You are not alone.
Tony can help you cope with the challenges of caring for a family member with dementia. For experienced guidance and practical strategies, contact Tony today. Call or just fill out the contact form and click Send.Please share this post!