Taking Care of the Caregiver Benefits Both

The well-being of the family caregiver can have a direct impact on the quality of life of the dementia patient.

Family Caregiver –  Labor of Love

It is the hope of most folks to be in their own home for as long as possible. Home caregivers (usually family members) make this possible longer for people who suffer from dementia or other neurological or physiological conditions by helping their loved ones adapt to and cope with limitations in ability, mobility, communication and cognition.

The caregiver is constantly working to stabilize or lessen the progression of disorders with exercise, nutrition, activity, hygiene and generally some mix of medicinal schedules. It can be a very hard and often heartbreaking job, yet so many take it on as a labor of love.

A Healthy Caregiver Benefits Both Themselves and the Patient

Studies have shown that “the health and general well-being” of a family caregiver can have a direct impact on the quality of life and success of therapy for dementia patients in their care.

Additionally, research indicates that dementia patients have higher rates of behavioral symptoms and mortality when cared for by carers who are stressed, use emotion-based coping (e.g., wishing that the disease would go away), or negative communication strategies.

Effective Coping

If you are a family caregiver, finding an effective coping mechanism for both you and the loved one you are caring for are important. Everyone’s health and well-being are interconnected and interdependent.

Happily, there are many resources for the family caregiver to call on to help with the daunting and difficult task of providing home care for their loved one. Understanding the changing needs and communication strategies of their charges is an important factor in successfully managing a home care situation.

One such sources was provided by the Lewy Body Dementia association, found online here.  This document helps to set expectations about caring for people with dementia, and also offers a helpful section titled “Care for the Caregiver” that includes common sense suggestions for maintaining personal equilibrium in the face of such demanding and difficult work.

Use tools and resources to make caregiving easier and pleasant for you and your loved one. As possible, share in activities you both enjoy like games, puzzles, and looking at old photographs. Our Game & Activity Therapy System is made just for this – to help engage those with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other cognitive impairment in a positive activity.

How Do You  Know You Need Help?

Caregivers are less likely to prioritize themselves and may not spend time on preventive health services such as checkups. They are therefore at higher risk of health issues, even increased risk of premature death. 

Do you have any of these signs?

  • insomnia
  • exhaustion
  • ill-tempered
  • feeling of being sad
  • loss on interest in hobbies you once enjoyed
  • skipping personal care tasks
  • overuse of alcohol or drugs

The National Institute of Aging provides suggestions for caregivers to care for themselves.

Get Support

Remember, it is NOT selfish to take care of yourself when you are a caregiver. It’s important for you to do so for both your own well-being, as well as the person you are caring for. 

Join a caregiver support group. A support group can help you share your feelings in a safe environment among those who can understand what you might be feeling. 

Our Caring for the Caregiver is a 52-week paperback journal, designed to cultivate self-reflection, gratitude, well-being, and stress management for caregivers.

Utilizing a trusted in-home care agency can provided needed respite is another option.

Many other sources for information and helpful resources for the caregiver can be found online, with many different organizations providing helpful resources for home caregiving needs.

We’re Here to Help

A Mind to Care was created to contribute quality of life to others.  So if you need help with finding and connecting with useful resources, drop us an email at customerservice@amindtocare.com and we’ll be happy to pass on any information we have available.

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