How To Care For A Parent With Dementia: 8 Tips For New Caregivers

A caregiver is a person who provides care for another individual. In the United States, millions of people provide care for a friend or family member with Alzheimer's disease or another type of dementia. Sometimes caregivers live with the patient or nearby, while sometimes they reside far away. For many families, caring for a person with dementia is not the sole responsibility of a single person but rather a shared responsibility among multiple individuals. Regardless of the type of caregiver you are, caring for another person can at times be daunting. These tips may be useful for routine care and chores.

8 Tips For New Caregivers

Being a caregiver can be both incredibly rewarding and overwhelming. It takes time and effort to care for a person with Alzheimer's or a similar disease. It can be isolating and aggravating. You may even experience anger, which could be an indication that you are trying to take on too much. It is essential to schedule time for self-care. Here are some tips that may be of assistance:

  • Get support when you need it. This could involve asking family and friends for assistance or contacting local services for further care needs.
  • Consuming nutritious foods can help you remain healthy and active for longer.
  • Join a caregiver support group in person or online. Meeting other caregivers will allow you to exchange experiences and ideas, preventing you from feeling alone in this.
  • Take a break every day. Consider brewing a cup of tea or contacting a buddy.
  • Meet up with friends and pursue your hobbies.
  • Exercise as frequently as possible. Try doing yoga or taking a walk.
  • Try engaging in meditation. Meditation may improve blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and restlessness, according to research.
  • Consider getting assistance from mental health professionals in order to manage your stress and anxiety better. Consult with your doctor for treatment options.

Ways To Plan For The Future: Tips For New Caregivers

It can be daunting to make health care decisions for someone who can no longer do so. Therefore, advance planning of health care directives is essential. To assist with future planning, you can:

  • Start early conversations with your loved ones to include them in the decision-making process.
  • Obtain permission in advance to speak with the patient's physician or attorney, if necessary. There may be concerns over care, a cost, or an insurance claim. Without permission, it may be impossible to get the required information.
  • Consider legal and financial matters, in-home care alternatives, long-term care opportunities, and funeral and burial plans.

The more you learn about your loved one's condition, the more you will understand what to expect as dementia progresses and what you can do to help.

For more information about 24-hour care for dementia patients, check out this article by Senior Strong.

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William Rivers is an editor with a master’s degree in Human Services Counseling at Maine State University. He has more than 20 years of experience working in the senior healthcare industry.
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