4 Stress Management Tips for Dementia Caregivers

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Many families initially choose to deal with a parent’s dementia in their home. Over time, it can become overwhelming to take care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Not to mention, too much stress can be harmful to both you and your senior loved one.

Our team at United Methodist Communities HomeWorks has put together a list of caregiver burnout signs and tips to manage stress successfully.

6 signs of caregiver stress you shouldn’t ignore

  1. Feelings of anger and frustration – These negative feelings can be expressed towards your loved one, towards other people in your life or even inwardly towards yourself. Stress causes us to feel more impatient and more frustrated, and can make us lash out in ways we wouldn’t normally allow.
  2. Social withdrawal – Caregivers under a lot of stress often withdraw from activities they usually love. If you find yourself not wanting to see friends or indulge in your favorite hobbies, then you may be suffering from significant caregiver stress.
  3. Depression and anxiety – Caring for a loved one with a terminal condition is not easy, and feeling sad and anxious is normal sometimes. However, if you are constantly feeling down and you cannot see a way out, it’s important to seek professional help.
  4. Exhaustion – If you are feeling constantly fatigued, as if you have no energy to get through the day or even get out of bed, then you are likely suffering from extreme burnout.
  5. Weight gain or loss – When you spend more time caring for someone else and less time caring for yourself, it’s easy for your nutrition to suffer. If you’re finding it impossible to maintain a healthy, balanced diet, then you may be under too much strain as a caregiver.
  6. Physical ailments – Another important symptom not to ignore is when your own health starts to suffer. Common ailments linked to caregiver burnout include frequent headaches and body pain. 

4 techniques for stress management for dementia caregivers

  1. Use relaxation techniques – Try to incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily life. This can include meditation for 10 minutes a day, breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation (consciously taking note of where tension is and relaxing each set of muscles), and positive visualization.
  2. Introduce physical exercise – Physical exercise is one of the very best stress management tools available. It releases endorphins, reduces blood pressure, lowers cortisol (stress hormone) levels, boosts your mood and benefits your overall health. Choose something you enjoy, and it won’t feel like work! 
  3. Join local support groups – Being a family caregiver isn’t just stressful, it can be lonely too. Many family caregivers feel the weight of the world on their shoulders, and joining a support group can help alleviate this burden. You’re not alone in this, and support groups are a great resource for getting advice and sharing your experience with people who truly understand what you are going through.
  4. Give yourself a break – There is more to life than being a family caregiver, but it’s easy for the role to take over. In the long run, however, this isn’t going to help you or your loved one! Taking a break, whether it’s to get your hair done, watch a movie, or to have quality time with your family is important.

It’s essential to your own wellbeing, and it will help you to be a better caregiver too. You could also look to hire a respite caregiver who has experience with older adults with dementia. Respite caregivers are trained to give your loved one the support and care they need, while you’re taking some much-deserved “me-time.”

In-home respite care services for seniors and family caregivers in NJ

UMC HomeWorks provides highly qualified at-home care services for older adults across the state of  New Jersey. In addition to assisting with daily tasks, errands and light housekeeping, our home health aides are fully trained in providing memory care and skilled nursing care in line with the latest COVID-19 guidelines. 

If you would like to find out more about our in-home respite or memory care services in NJ, contact us today and let one of our home health aides deliver the exceptional care and companionship that your loved one deserves. You can also visit our website at https://umcommunities.org/homeworks/live-in-care-new-jersey/ 

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