Caregiver Awareness Month
My mom volunteers at an Alzheimer’s day center. They interact with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients to give caregivers a break. They sing, play games, eat and visit.
I asked her how she could do it because I don’t think I could. It would make me too sad. She said the interesting thing about Alzheimer’s patients is that they are generally pretty happy. Most don’t know that they are losing their memories. She enjoys being around them, visiting, and having fun. My mom loves a party.
What she doesn’t say is that having a safe place to leave their loved ones gives the caregivers a break. Caring for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s, especially if it’s a family member, can be physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting. Caregivers can get burned out and experience stress, anxiety, and depression, and even feel guilty if they do something for themselves.
Furthermore, caregivers have to take time for themselves and their own health if they are going to care for anyone else.
Of course, this is why we’re spotlighting Caregiver Awareness Month!
Today’s Caregiver gives these pointers:
- Listen to music
- Laugh at something every day
- Get enough sleep
- Eat balanced meals
- Let family and friends help
- Get exercise, like a brisk walk
- Talk with someone every day
- Reduce caffeine
- Take at least a 10-minute break every day
- Learn relaxation techniques
- Give yourself a monthly treat, even if it’s just an ice cream cone
- Get professional help if you feel overwhelmed
- Avoid noisy or tense movies
- Find a center to watch the patient so you have regular time away
By Amanda Rogers for Surepoint Medical Centers
Amanda Rogers is a freelance writer based in Fort Worth, Texas
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