Getting Help As A Dementia Caregiver

Caregiving can be highly rewarding. However, burnout and stress can be common due to the demanding nature of taking care of senior loved ones with dementia. In order to avoid feeling exhausted, lonely, sad, or frustrated, some techniques provide dementia care support for those who need it. 

Getting help with dementia care can be difficult if you don’t know where to get it. Remembering to take care of your own health and forming a support network is a good place to start. 

Getting Support As A Caregiver

There are some actions that you can take in order to relieve the stress that comes with being a caregiver. This includes self-care, asking for aid from family and friends, and doing some relaxation techniques. 

Don’t Neglect Your Own Care 

When taking care of someone else, it may be possible to forget that you have your own needs. Since being a caregiver can take up a lot of energy, it’s more important to eat a healthy diet and ensure you’re getting enough sleep every night.

If you’re too busy, you can also reach out to family and friends to see if they’re willing to run errands on your behalf, prepare meals for you, or help you tick off some other things on your to-do list. 

Find Someone You Can Talk To 

As a caregiver, it can be an isolating experience to provide care for a senior loved one. Having a network of family and friends in place can be highly beneficial since they can help provide words of encouragement and emotional support. You may also form new friendships if you choose to join a support group in your area since its members also share the same experiences. 

Maintain An Active Lifestyle 

There are numerous physical and mental benefits of exercise. If you have a busy lifestyle, try to set aside as little as 10 minutes to stay active, whether it’s a walk around the block, some yoga stretches, dancing to some music, or going on a quick jog. The endorphins released during exercise can help improve sleep quality, combat anxiety, and reduce stress. 

Exercise A Relaxation Technique 

If you’re stressed, you may not realize that you’re practicing unhealthy breathing habits. To help you regain a sense of balance, try to spend a few minutes every day doing breathing exercises. All you need to do is close your eyes and focus on breathing in and out with your belly. 

One breathing technique is the 4-7-8 method which involves inhaling for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds. 

Dementia Care Journey Of Caregivers

Caring for someone with dementia may be a long, demanding, and extremely emotional journey. It can be hard for the patient and caregiver at the same time. Difficult behavior such as disorientation or paranoia may make it necessary for caregivers to seek physical and emotional help with dementia care. 

Although it may vary between individuals and caregivers, the journey of a caregiver typically goes something like this: 

Stage 1

During the initial stage, you are still adjusting to taking care of your dementia-stricken patient. You may feel all sorts of emotions, including a sense of obligation, stress, acceptance, or unfamiliarity as you step into this role. During this period, it is a good idea to get to know your loved one’s capabilities and stimulate their brain with activities.

Puzzle books, movies, board games, and music are some ways that can bring happiness to caregivers and dementia patients. 

Stage 2

After some time has passed, you may start to feel overwhelmed with your role, and dementia care help may be necessary. During this time, you may want to explore what government and healthcare services are available in your area to help your loved ones age gracefully. 

It’s also more important to prioritize your health and stamina since your level of stress may be rising. 

Stage 3

Over time, it is possible that the health of your loved one may worsen as their dementia reaches more advanced stages. At the same time, you may be experiencing added levels of burnout and stress as you take on even more responsibilities. Encountering financial difficulties and difficult caregiving decisions are often common during this stage. 

Stage 4

At the end of your caregiving journey, it may be time to relocate your loved one or dementia patient to a facility that is more qualified to provide care for their needs. You may need to help them prepare for this transition to a memory care facility, nursing home, or retirement community as they make the most of their time. Taking the time to mourn and grieve is essential.

Challenges And Rewards Of Dementia Care

Since those with dementia tend to behave erratically, family members may experience frustration and sadness when adjusting to these changes. Moreover, the challenges of care rise in terms of financial and caregiving responsibilities, making dementia care support for caregivers a necessity.

Despite this, caring for someone can be highly rewarding for several reasons: 

Caregiving Is A Pure Manifestation Of Love

When you care for a person, you can connect with them on a deep and authentic level. If you’re caring for a parent or a relative who isn't close to you, it can bring you closer than ever before. During this time, many caregivers and patients can create new memories to share. 

It Alters Your Outlook On Life 

Caregivers often take this opportunity to appreciate what they have more. Your priorities may change since small everyday problems may not be as big of an issue as you previously thought. 

You may come to realize what truly matters to you, whether it’s spending time with your loved ones, traveling, or appreciating the little things in life. It can also provide you with valuable lessons on patience and kindness. 

Gives Everything A Purpose 

It may sound cliche, but caring for someone can help give you a purpose in life. Caring for someone can change your daily routine, add structure to your life, and renew your drive and focus. This can be highly rewarding, especially if it’s something that you feel called to do and something that gives you confidence in your skills over time. 

Contributes To A Sense Of Accomplishment 

It’s not easy to dedicate your life to caring for someone else. However, the plus side is that you eventually learn how to overcome and face any challenges you encounter. Learning how to adapt to new and unfamiliar circumstances, finding solutions, and learning the true meaning of patience can make you feel good about yourself and boost your confidence. 

Caregiving Can Train Younger Family Members 

For younger family members, caring for a dementia patient can help them learn the value of responsibility, whether it’s keeping track of medications, exercising with a loved one, or calming them down when they’re confused. This can help prepare them for any future challenges that come their way in terms of their relationships or careers.  

No matter the stage of dementia, caregivers may need help or advice with dementia care. This list of resources can provide some aid, depending on your location. 

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re not sure where to start, here are some commonly asked questions for those that are seeking dementia care help. 

How can a dementia caregiver be helped?

Dementia caregivers can find dementia care support by building a local support system, finding time for themselves, having a consistent exercise routine, and asking for help and advice when they need it.

What other support is available for someone living with dementia?

There are plenty of platforms that provide low-cost or free aid to local communities, including respite care, care support groups, transportation services, and meal services. Volunteer groups, family, friends, and neighbors can also provide help when needed. 

What are the three signs of caregiver stress?

Three common signs of caregiver stress include feeling overwhelmed or constantly worried, getting too much or not enough sleep, and gaining or losing weight.

Caregivers Need Care Too

Caregivers’ roles are important for every senior’s life, especially when it comes to demanding tasks like caring for elders with dementia. Many caregivers may find themselves unwilling to ask for help even if they need it or may be unaware that they need care in the first place. However, not getting the help they need can increase feelings of isolation, frustration, and stress. 

Instead of continuing to struggle, it’s a good idea to make use of local resources for caregivers through the Eldercare Locator or your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA).  

Read on to learn more about caregiving tips for seniors on Senior Strong today!

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