When a senior loved one lives with Alzheimer’s disease, the impact on the entire family is significant. It can be physically exhausting and emotionally draining. While caregiving for a family member can be a labor of love, juggling so many responsibilities and difficult emotions can be overwhelming.
From safety concerns to diet and hydration, the tasks are many. Then there is the sorrow from watching a loved one’s decline. It’s a path 15.7 million Americans find themselves on.
When a Senior Loved One Has Alzheimer’s Disease
It’s common for family caregivers to experience health problems of their own. Those cited most often include:
- Sleep issues
- Digestive problems
- Sadness or depression
- Stress, agitation, or anxiety
- Neck and back problems
- Unintended weight gain or loss
- Prehypertension or high blood pressure
Protecting your own health—mental and physical—when you are a family caregiver is essential.
5 Survival Tips for Alzheimer’s Caregivers
- Get organized: Worries about missing a deadline or appointment cause stress for family caregivers. Alleviate some stress by establishing a system and sticking with it. Organize and update your loved one’s medical history, medication list, physician contact information, and appointments. Setting up 3-ring binders with copies of everything may be the easiest option. If you are comfortable with technology, a few apps can help. Healthspek and CareZone are two to explore.
- Accept help: Family caregivers often believe they should handle all aspects of the role alone. Some are driven by concern for their loved one’s quality of care, and others by a sense of duty. They feel the need to independently care for the person who cared for them.
- Eat healthy: When you are pressed for time, as most family caregivers are, it’s easy to rely on convenience foods and drive-through restaurants. Unfortunately, these foods typically contain unhealthy fats and high amounts of sodium. If you aren’t able to prepare healthy meals, consider services such as Freshly or Silver Cuisine.
- Exercise regularly: Exercise might seem like something a busy caregiver doesn’t have time to do. But exercise offers a variety of health benefits, including better sleep, a stronger immune system, and reduced stress. Regular exercise also helps build muscle strength, which can reduce the odds of caregiving-related injury.
- Laugh often: It’s also important to take time to enjoy yourself. Laughing with loved ones helps lower the risk for depression, an issue Alzheimer’s caregivers often struggle with. If you don’t have anyone you can count on to help while you take a break, consider utilizing respite services at an assisted living community.
Respite Care at Five Star Senior Living
With 270 Five Star Senior Living communities in over 30 states, you’re sure to find a respite care solution nearby. Call (853) 457-8271 to learn more!
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