If you care for a loved one with dementia, you may put all your own wants and needs to the back of your mind. However, in order to take good care of someone with dementia, it’s just as important you prioritize self-care. With that in mind, here are five self-care tips for dementia caregivers.
Take Regular Breaks
If you’re the sole caregiver of a loved one with dementia, most of your time will be spent tending to their every need. This means you may forget about yourself in the process, which won’t do your mind and body any favors. You must never feel guilty about taking regular breaks from caregiving. You still have a life to lead yourself, so whether you hit the movies, go the gym, or a quick stroll in the park, having things to do to take your mind off everything is key.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Whether you’re living in your loved one’s home or visiting every day to care for them, you must factor in time for sleep. Your mind and body need plenty of rest, so make sure you prioritize sleep. Should you wake up feeling tired and rundown, the idea of looking after somebody else may fill you with dread. What’s more, if you’re tired, you may make mistakes that could be detrimental to your loved one’s health.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Seeing your loved one’s cognitive function decline can be devastating. With so much responsibility on your shoulders, your stress levels may go through the roof. Therefore, finding time to practice relaxation techniques can be a big help. Many dementia caregivers swear by yoga and meditation as ways to fully relax and unwind. No matter how jam-packed your day is, taking 15 minutes for yourself to meditate can help you stay positive.
Have a Strong Support Network
You should never have to care for a loved one with dementia on your own. If you have other family members nearby, make sure you share the duties together. Having a strong support network around you will prove useful through thick and thin. During the dark times, knowing you can rely on loved ones and have a shoulder to cry on is important.
Think About the Future
While you may be more than happy to be a caregiver for your loved one, there may come a time where they require extra help and support. If you don’t have the experience and expertise to care for your loved one, especially during the later stages of dementia, looking into memory care may be the right option. There are memory care St Louis facilities like McKnight Place you can check out. Although you will want to keep your loved one at home for as long as possible, in terms of ensuring they get the right help, moving them into memory care sooner rather than later is advised.
Looking after a loved one with dementia can be emotionally and physically exhausting, especially if you’re the sole caregiver. Make sure you put your own health and wellbeing at the forefront, otherwise, you won’t be in the right frame of mind to offer care and support.