If you are a family caregiver for a loved one suffering with dementia or Alzheimer's disease, you probably know the days are far too long and the trials you face are incredibly difficult and tiring. Often times, before our Kind Companions step in to provide the much needed relief, we see many signs of caregiver burnout. This burnout can result in a weakened immune system, mental health struggles, and out of control anxiety or depression.
Here are some helpful ways to prevent caregiver burnout:
1. Take a Walk
Sometimes just a change of scenery is necessary. Take a nice stroll around the block or grab the dog and head to a local park and soak up the healing effects of nature.
2. Make Something Crafty
Sometimes just using your hands and creating something (even if it's not Pinterest-worthy) is healing and helpful. It makes you focus on something other than caregiving for a few minutes (or hours) and there's something empowering about knowing you created something yourself.
3. Read a Book
No, do not just pick a book on dementia or caregiving. Find something with a story or get lost in one of those cheesy romance novels. Allowing our brains to take a break from the overwhelming list of things to do can be impossible if we don't shift our focus to something entirely different, such a fictional story or character.
4. Learn Meditation
Meditation has become increasingly popular across the world, and for good reason! A little mindfulness is a great way to bring our focus back to the present, and breath control is excellent for stress management and mood stabilization. Check the Calm app or Insight Timer for guided meditations and other resources.
5. Binge a Show on Netflix
We are coming up on that time of year where Netflix has all the cheesy holiday movies, and we agree this is a great way to get lost for a few hours and enjoy some relaxation. Find a show or movie to binge and enjoy some favorites while you watch, such as popcorn, hot chocolate, snacks, or even a glass of wine.
6. Phone a Friend
Sometimes we get caught up in the caring for our loved ones that we neglect our friendships. Be proactive and schedule a phone date or coffee date with a friend. Allow yourself a few hours to unplug and simply catch up with your friend, and don't feel guilty about it.
7. Take a Nap
Never underestimate the power of rest! Sleep is often the most neglected (yet necessary) form of self-care we see in family caregivers. If you suddenly find yourself a bit exhausted and know you haven't been enjoying the proper number of hours of sleep each night, give yourself permission to take a nap. Close the blinds, turn on some soothing music, and tuck yourself into your bed.
8. Hire Some Help
Okay, so we saved the best for last, but seriously, the best thing you can do for yourself and your loved one is make sure you are healthy. Sometimes we take on entirely too much, and asking for help is the final step we tend to avoid taking. Our Kind Companions are flexible, friendly, professional, and experienced. We can step in for as little as 10 or 15 hours per week to help you fill in the gaps. Plus, our clients love their Kind Companions!
Caregiver burnout is a very real and prevalent thing, but it's also entirely preventable! We hope these helpful tips gave you some new ideas. As always, we are standing by to respond to your message. Contact us today for a free consultation.