Taking Care of the Caregiver
“I don’t know how you do it all”
Caregivers Need to Learn How to Take Care of Themselves.
Don’t let the quality of care your loved one or client is getting because you are not taking care of yourself.
As a caregiver,9 you provide care to people who need some degree of ongoing assistance with everyday tasks on a regular basis. During this pandemic, you may also be a first responder, providing the first line of response and defense to your loved one living with dementia. First responders often experience stress due to heavy workloads, fatigue, and other situations that come with an emergency. There are important steps you should take during and after an emergency event to help manage and cope with stress.10 To take care of others, you must be feeling well and thinking clearly. Here are some tips on how to take care of yourself:
- Eat a healthy diet, avoid using drugs and alcohol, and get plenty of sleep and regular exercise to help reduce stress and anxiety. Activities as simple as taking a walk, stretching, and deep breathing can help relieve stress.
- Establish and maintain a routine. Try to eat meals at regular times, and put yourself on a sleep schedule to ensure you get enough rest. Include a positive or fun activity in your schedule that you can look forward to each day or week. If possible, schedule exercise into your daily routine.
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting. If you want to stay up-to-date on the pandemic, visit CDC’s website for the latest recommendations on what you can do to protect yourself and those you care for.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Reach out to family and friends. Talking to someone you trust about your concerns and feelings can help.
- Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.
- Find a local support group. Support groups provide a safe place for you to find comfort in knowing you are not alone.
- Have a backup caregiver. In case you become sick with COVID-19, a backup caregiver will ensure that your loved one continues to receive care. You can focus on caring for yourself.7
REFRENCE ARTICLE from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention – May 14, 2021
Choosing A Long Term Care Facility for your loved one
When living at home is no longer an option
Join our ALZConnected online community and get advice and support from other caregivers facing similar situations. Join TodayThere may come a time when the person living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia will need more care than can be provided at home. During the middle stages of Alzheimer’s, it becomes necessary to provide 24-hour supervision to keep the person with dementia safe. As the disease progresses into the late-stages, around-the-clock care requirements become more intensive.
Making the decision to move into a residential care facility may be very difficult, but it is not always possible to continue providing the level of care needed at home. The questions below may helpful when determining if a move to residential care a good option:
- Is the person with dementia becoming unsafe in their current home?
- Is the health of the person with dementia or my health as a caregiver at risk?
- Are the person’s care needs beyond my physical abilities?
- Am I becoming a stressed, irritable and impatient caregiver?
- Am I neglecting work responsibilities, my family and myself?
- Would the structure and social interaction at a care facility benefit the person with dementia?
Even if you planned ahead with the person for a move, making this transition can be a stressful experience. You may feel guilty and wonder if you are doing the right thing. These feelings are are common. Families that have been through the process tell us that it is best to gather information and move forward. Keep in mind, that regardless of where the care takes place, the decision is about making sure the person receives the care needed.
Choosing a care setting
Find the right fit
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- Plan to visit several care communities. Make an appointment for your first visit, but also make one or two unannounced visits. Look around and talk with the staff, as well as residents and their families.
- When you visit a care community, ask to see the latest survey/inspection report and, in some states, the Special Care Unit Disclosure form — which they are required to provide. If it is a nursing home, you can go to Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website to learn how it compares to the national average.
- Visit the facilities at different times of the day, including meal times.
- Ask the care facility about room availability, cost and participation in Medicare or Medicaid. Consider placing your name on a waiting list even if you are not ready to make a decision.
- If payment will be out of pocket (or private pay), ask what happens if the person living with dementia runs out of money. Some communities will accept Medicaid, others may not. If you anticipate the need for Medicaid either now or in the future, plan to visit with a lawyer that specializes in elder care prior to moving into a facility to ensure a good financial plan is in place.