Caring for someone else, especially someone with dementia, can be physically and emotionally draining. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and related dementias provide care for a longer duration than caregivers of people with other types of conditions (79% versus 66%) and 57% of family caregivers provide care for four years or more. Therefore, it is very important to prioritize your own well-being to ensure that you can provide the best care for your loved one. Here are some ways you take care of yourself while taking care of someone else:
Stay connected socially.
Keep in touch with friends and maintain your social connections as much as possible. Having a supportive social network to talk to, spend time with, and count on improves your emotional well-being. You may also want to join a support group for caregivers so you can share experiences and advice with others who are in a similar position to you.
Prioritize your physical health.
Regular exercise, healthy eating, and getting enough sleep are even more important when you are serving as a caregiver. Engaging in regular physical activity, even if it’s just a short walk or 15 minutes of yoga, can increase your energy levels and reduce stress. By eating well and getting enough rest, you’ll have the energy you need to take care of yourself and your loved one.
Take regular breaks.
Arrange for regular breaks, whether it’s a few hours a week or a weekend off. During this time, take part in activities you enjoy, catch up with friends, or simply relax.
Ask for help when needed.
Whether calling on family members or friends, or hiring professionals, asking for help and delegating responsibilities can help relieve some of the stress you may feel.
Be kind to yourself.
As a caregiver, you are under immense amounts of stress and your loved one’s needs may change over time. Remind yourself that you are doing your best to provide a safe, nurturing environment, even on days when you feel frustrated, need a break, or question decisions you have made.
By ensuring your own well-being, you will feel better and be better able to provide quality care to your loved one.
Founded by a nurse attorney and with offices in Acton, Sudbury, and Andover, Massachusetts, Generations Law Group helps families navigate the complex areas of estate planning and elder law to inform and protect loved ones of every generation.