As a busy caregiver, it can be all too easy to let your own well-being take a backseat to your loved one’s needs. Here are five caregiving resolutions I encourage you to adopt – and keep – in 2018 and beyond:
1. I will ask for help.
Caregiver burnout is real. When you find yourself overwhelmed, sad or isolated, ask family members to cover for you while you run errands, meet a friend for lunch or enjoy some me-time. If negative feelings persist, ask a medical professional for help.
2. I will add self-care to our daily routine.
Self-care lifts you physically, mentally and emotionally. If you enjoy cooking, add fresh fruits, whole grains and lean meats to your recipes. If you don’t, ask a family member to take this chore off your plate while you take your loved one outside for fresh air and exercise. When your loved one is resting, use that time to relax, pursue a hobby or catch up with a friend.
3. I will socialize with people who support us.
Joining a caregiver support group and connecting with people on a similar journey can help you to better understand your role and your loved one’s needs, provide useful caregiving tips and tricks, and make your job less stressful.
4. I will continue to look for ways to connect with my loved one.
People with dementia often enjoy nostalgic moments. Flip through family photos, old postcards and other mementos, tell stories, listen to favorite songs or cook a favorite meal together. If your loved one is able, visit a park, museum or restaurant that interests them.
5. I will explore appropriate options for my loved one as necessary.
Recognize when your loved one’s needs become too much for you. If you need a break, consider visiting home care services or a respite stay at a memory care community. If your loved one can no longer live at home, consider a residential community designed specifically to support and care for people with dementia. While this new reality can be difficult, it’s important to remember that securing the right accommodations and care can greatly increase your loved one’s quality of life.
This article was written by Alicia Seaver, Director of Memory Care at Bridges® by EPOCH communities in Trumbull and Norwalk. She may be reached directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.