Caring for the Caregiver
Source: Understanding and caring for the person with Alzheimer’s Disease : A practical Guide prepared by the Atlanta Area Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Being a caregiver is a stressful and demanding job. There is usually very little, if any opportunity to prepare for a new caregiving situation. The well-being of the caregiver requires priority consideration. Thought must be given to the fate of the care recipient if the caregiver becomes unable to continue with caregiving responsibilities. Caregivers are susceptible to depression, illness, physical exhaustion and emotional exhaustion. Any of these conditions will easily interfere with a person’s ability to be an effective caregiver.
The following are suggestions for maintaining caregiver well-being:
- Become informed about the care recipient’s health issues and any expected changes in behavior.
- Accept the facts and deal with your situation the best that you can.
- Seek professional help whenever necessary.
- Share the burden of caring and caregiving with family members and other interested persons.
- Talk about your problems with a trusted person.
- Don’t be too shy, proud, or afraid to seek help with caregiving.
- Become aware of the limits of your caregiving abilities.
- Maintain social activities and important relationships.
- Get away from the responsibilities from time to time.
- Pace yourself. You may be responsible for caregiving for many years.
- Work off anger with physical activity.
- Plan ahead to avoid crises where possible.
- Live one day at a time.
- Recognize the worst-case scenario, but hope for the best.
- Join a family support group.
- Keep your sense of humor.