If you’ve decided to be the family caregiver for an elderly relative who has dementia, you are providing a wonderful and selfless service to your loved one. However, it’s important that you go into the new relationship with your eyes open and a full understanding of the stressors that come with your new responsibilities.
Family caregivers are subject to a lot of stress due to the demands of the job and the often frustrating and worrying behavior of the elderly relative. Here are a few things that you can do right away to avoid stress when caring for aging relatives with dementia.
Have Realistic Plans in Place
You don’t want to overwhelm yourself or your elderly loved one with ambitious plans and untried activities that can stress you out and agitate the aging adult. Those with dementia do best with a predictable routine and low stimulation. You must have realistic plans in place for just about every part of the day and set realistic goals of what needs to be accomplished that day.
Consider their Safety
People with dementia and seniors in general have a higher risk of injuring themselves around the home. Because dementia affects an elderly person’s ability to reason and affects their good judgment, seniors may try to do things that are unsafe. Examples include using kitchen knives, leaving the stove on, overdosing on medicine, or wandering away. Take some initiatives for safety by doing things like putting latches or locks on outside doors, securing medications and more.
Hire Home Care Providers with Dementia Experience
You may think that you can handle all the demands of caregiving, but if you don’t arrange for regular breaks during the week, you will quickly become overstressed. Because aging adults with dementia always need to be supervised, you won’t be able to gain respite without hiring home care providers. They can take care of all your aging loved one’s needs and pitch in around the house with cleaning and cooking. That way, you get some time to yourself.
Maintain a Realistic Perspective
It can be very stressful to care for an elderly relative with dementia and many family caregivers go into it thinking they can help their loved one improve. Dementia is relentless and unforgiving and robs the senior of their memories and often their personalities. You’ll need to realize that your aging loved one will make you frustrated and sad frequently. However, with a support group of friends, family, home care providers, doctors and more, you can rely on others to help you out.
Providing care for a relative with dementia brings a mix of good moments as well as stressful ones. Utilizing the resources available to you and creating a safe and positive environment for you and your aging relative is the best thing you can do. To avoid becoming overstressed, always maintain a balance that gives you what you need physically and mentally.