Tips for Managing Caregiver Stress
Stress can affect anyone and caregivers may find themselves faced with additional stressors. Managing stress can help avoid caregiver burnout.
- Maintain a positive attitude
- Be flexible and accept the circumstances
- Be honest and open about your feelings
- Take it one day at a time–not everything can be solved in a day
- Get a good night’s sleep
- Incorporate stress management techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing, and exercise into your life
- Drink water and eat a healthful diet
- Set realistic goals and go slow–life is not a race, rather, it is a journey
Strategies for Caregivers: Managing Stress
Educate yourself about the disease. Visit the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s website, www.alzfdn.org, or the National Institute on Aging at https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers for information about the disease. Support groups, educational workshops, community resources and professionals can also help increase your understanding of the disease and what to expect.
Build your skills. Key skills for any care partner include communication, understanding safety considerations and behaviors, and managing activities of daily living such as bathing, toileting and dressing.
Develop empathy. Try to understand what it is like to be a person living with dementia. Put yourself in their shoes while also recognizing your own losses. Manage your expectations of your loved one and remain patient.
Support is critical. Reach out to family, friends, and medical and mental health professionals. They can assist you when things get tough.
Advocate. Take an active role in the individual’s medical care. Get to know the care team, ask questions, express concerns, and discuss treatment options.
Be prepared. Take care of financial, legal, and long-term care planning issues early on, to help reduce stress later. Try to involve the individual in decision-making if they are capable, and consider their wishes regarding future care and end-of-life issues.
Connect. Kindness, humor and creativity are essential parts of caregiving and can help reduce stress. Hugs, gentle touch and compassion help you and the individual feel connected and loved.
Think positive. Focus on the capabilities and strengths that are still intact and enjoy your relationship with your person while you are still together.