The month of February often brings up feelings of love and nostalgia, especially around Valentine's Day. But for caregivers and family members who care for someone with Alzheimer's or Dementia, showing love can sometimes be challenging or stressful. But loving someone with Dementia can also be fulfilling and bring happiness to your life, as well as those around you, if you remember a few things.
1. Practice Self-Care
You know how when you're on an airplane and the flight attendant reminds you that, in the event of an emergency, you should secure your own oxygen mask first? Well there's a good reason for that. Before we can help others, we have to be okay first. If you aren't sleeping or getting enough nutrients, your energy is going to run low and you may even end up with a compromised immune system. If you're sick, you certainly can't help those around you who need you most. Remember to practice some self-care, such as getting to bed at a reasonable time, remembering to stop by the grocery store so you have healthy foods to eat, and even a break. If you have errands to run or doctor's appointments you've been putting off, maybe it's time to take a day to get those done. Can't leave your loved ones? Reach out to us and we will send a Kind Companion to help. We all need a little help from time to time.
2. Have Fun
This may seem silly, but when was the last time you let loose and had fun with your loved one? Take them to the zoo or to the park. Maybe they love a local museum and would welcome the outing. Just remember to plan ahead with medications, food, or even a change of clothes if needed.
3. Try Not to Argue With Them
Although you may know you're right, arguing with your loved one can be counter-productive and stressful for both of you. Try to let things go easily and forgive them for forgetting things or becoming angry when they do. Try to meet them where they are and not take for granted the little things, such as remembering something from their childhood or an old song they used to love.
4. Remember Who They Were Before The Disease
This can prove especially challenging with Alzheimer's and Dementia, and there may be times when you just can't see a glimpse of the person you once knew. As the disease progresses, it will likely get worse, and it will probably be tougher and tougher to remember. Do it anyway.
Seriously, take a deep breath and relax. Caregiving is hard work, both physically and emotionally. You're doing a great job.
As always, if Kind Companions can help you or your family with anything at all, please don't hesitate to reach out.