Alzheimer’s disease is debilitating and life-changing, and not just for the patient. It’s also a long, hard road for you as a caretaker. The constant demands of providing care for an ailing loved one can easily lead you to neglect your own physical and mental health. Here are four key ways that you can stay calm and composed while caring for an Alzheimer’s patient.
Socialize Through Alzheimer’s Groups
Getting out of the house and spending time with others is critical for overall well-being, but it’s really tough to do when you’re caring for an Alzheimer’s patient. Alzheimer’s support groups revolve around Alzheimer’s patients and caretakers, so you can both socialize with people who know the realities of daily life and more socially noticeable symptoms.
Whenever possible, implement strategies that are completely fool-proof for daily care. This might include such things as having:
- Ready-made meals in dated containers that follow a set menu
- A designated “doctor’s log” to keep physician comments, appointments, observations and medication refill dates close at hand
- Daily wardrobe planned in advance
- A comprehensive pill organizer in a secure but easily accessible place
Some organizational steps may seem overly simplistic, but they allow you to delegate day-to-day decision making to good days. On bad days, they make it easier to switch to autopilot or bring in someone else to help.
Reach Out for Support
It’s sometimes hard to recognize how many people truly want to help, and caring for an alzheimer’s patient leaves a lot of opportunities for others to help. Even if no one else can take over direct care, don’t be afraid to ask for help buying groceries, filling prescriptions or cleaning the house.
Take Time for Your Health
No matter how busy you get caring for an Alzheimer’s patient, you can’t help anyone if you become ill or get too stressed because you didn’t take a break. Whenever possible, opt for well-rounded, home-prepared meals. Find ways to sneak in simple exercises throughout the day. Explore daytime or temporary respite care options to free up your schedule to get to the gym, go for your own medical checkups, and take some much-needed rejuvenation time for yourself.
The Alzheimer’s patient in your life needs you, but you are also a priority. Work yourself into the schedule and attend to your own needs whenever possible for better stress management during the rigors of daily care.