Being an in home caregiver can be mentally, physically, and emotionally draining under any circumstances. In some instances, the person being cared for may have not only have Alzheimer’s or dementia, but another illness such as Parkinson’s disease that requires additional care.
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No matter what the patients’ needs are, caregivers need care too.
“Research has shown that caregivers themselves are often at increased risk for depression and illness,” state the United States National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging’s Caregiver Guide. “Especially if they do not receive adequate support from family, friends, and the community.”
They also point out that each person with Alzheimer’s is unique and changes over the course of the disease, and there is no one-size-fits-all remedy for every caregiver for the duration of the illness.
Caregivers need to be on the lookout for signs of their own stress and seek out support.
“You are not failing as a caregiver by asking others for assistance,” it states on the Alzheimer’s Association’s website.
If friends and family cannot provide the needed in home caregiver support, find a local support group through www.alz.org or the National Family Caregivers Association.
While the online tips for caregivers can lift your spirits and maybe even help guide you through a new action plan for anything from rewarding yourself to getting more exercise, you may want to find someone in your area to meet with. There is also the Caregiver Community Action Network with volunteers in many states.
It can be scary when a loved one living with dementia wanders off. There are ways to keep them safe and even reduce the risk of this behavior happening.
Dr. G. Allen Power shares stories of care that wasn't benefitting someone living with dementia and offers tips on how to care in more engaging and meaningful way.
When planning for long-term care with your loved ones, openly discuss the need for someone to be a liaison to help to organize the various parties and needs as they arise. This might include creating a schedule, hiring transportation for medical appointments, meal planning and more.