When a doctor has to break the news of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, it doesn’t just impact the person being diagnosed. It affects all of their loved ones. It’s imperative for family caregivers to allow themselves ample time to prepare for the changes to come and to uncover a healthy way to sort out the assorted emotions that manifest.
One of the challenges that comes with this progressive disease for caregivers is learning how to find peace in each stage. It can be beneficial to use reflection as a tool to better tackle the challenges and changes. Dakota Home Care’s dementia care staff recommend family members try the following techniques:
Journaling. As a family caregiver, writing down your positive and negative experiences as you care for a loved one, how you responded to those experiences, and what worked or didn’t work is a fantastic way to both provide an outlet for your emotions and to offer you encouragement in the later stages of the disease.
Socializing. It’s important to balance the time you spend with the person you care for with the time you spend with other loved ones. Participate in hobbies and pastimes you enjoy, go out for lunch or coffee dates, or engage in any other activities with individuals who bring you joy and elevate your spirits.
Relaxing. Take the time to tend to yourself however you can: exercise, meditation or prayer, yoga, music, spending time outdoors or with pets. Taking care of yourself is a gift you give to your loved one; you can only provide the best care when you’re refreshed and strengthened.
Empathizing. Try to step into your loved one’s shoes and look at the world through their eyes. Picture having difficulties with daily activities that previously could be carried out without a second thought. This can help lessen frustrations and allow you to accept and celebrate the successes achieved, no matter how small.
Most importantly, understand that being a family caregiver for someone who’s received an Alzheimer’s diagnosis calls for a network of support, and is never a role that one person can play independently. Partnering with somebody skilled in specialized Alzheimer’s care, like the caregiving team at Dakota Home Care, ensures the maximum quality of care for the individual with dementia by providing necessary time away for family caregivers.