“Caregiving often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know possible.”
—Tia Walker, From The Inspired Caregiver: Finding Joy While Caring for those You Love
Caring for a friend or family member that’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, or any other progressive disease is a tough tasks. While maintaining quality care, caregivers also have to deal with their own emotional and physical stress. It’s a balancing act that can lead to overwhelming exhaustion.
For those who have stepped up and stepped in to care for their loved ones, we want to say, “Thank you!” Here are a few tips and reminders to keep in mind as you care for your loved ones.
- Find someone to talk to. While you’re there to listen and support your loved one, you also need someone to listen and support you. You need a place where you can talk openly and honestly about how you’re doing. Find a family member or friend that will listen without judging. Support groups are also a great place to connect with and be encouraged by those going through similar circumstances.
- Learn as much as you can. Learn all about your loved one’s disease or condition. It will help you better understand symptoms and any changes in behavior when they occur.
- Accept Help. You’re just not going to be able to do it all, and there will be times when you’re going to need a break. Create a list of ways friends and family members can help so when they offer you have options. It can even include getting groceries, cleaning, or cooking. There may also be home health care aides, adult care programs, transportation and meal assistance available. Use these resources to give yourself a break for a couple of hours or even one day a week. Any of these options will help you remain healthy as you care for your loved ones.
- Don’t expect perfection. You’re not perfect, and you’re not going to get it right all the time. Mistakes are going to happen, and that’s okay. Be kind and forgive yourself. Stay realistic about what you can and can’t do and give yourself grace often.