Dementia is heartbreaking for all involved. If you have found yourself in the unexpected role of carer for a loved one who is suffering the effects of this disease, it is a heavy burden. Though it will not take the pain away, there are methods of management that can detract from the weightful impact of it all. This guide explores tentative measures you can take in your caring role
Acknowledge the Emotional Tax
Regardless of your relationship with the loved one in question, caring duties take their toll emotionally. It is such an extensive, all-around responsibility that exhaustion, both physical and mental, are simply a natural consequence. When this is acknowledged, there is a resounding sense of re-gained autonomy. To fulfill caring duties, you have to look after yourself as well, otherwise, the risk of burnout is very high.
Manage Personal Stress Levels
This leads us onto managing stress levels. More awareness of the situation allows for a deeper understanding of the repercussions. One of these is bound to be heightened cortisone and stress levels. Stress seeps into every aspect of daily life and shapes verbal responses, interaction nuances, and our ability to function and focus. It can also take a toll on physical health and lead to cardiovascular issues.
Adapt Daily Routines
Daily life becomes more difficult and therefore, the need to adapt becomes more prevalent. There are ways to implement friendly dementia activities into the schedule if you know what to look for. This helps the wider carer setting and also the person with dementia as well. It will be an adjustment and maybe even a shock to the system so being prepared can never hurt. One of the best ways forward is to foster a sense of engagement with the dementia sufferer. Because brain activity and ability is the primary victim of this disease, organizing engaging activity is a good way to slow the effects. A person left to fester will deteriorate more rapidly than one who is engaged.
Don’t Set a Dementia Patient up to Fail
The patient will feel a growing frustration and it is your job when you take on the mantle of carer to respect that. There is a natural power shift and it is common for dementia sufferers to lash out and act in an aggressive manner. Combat this with adaptation and innovative thinking. If their movement has decreased, set up a downstairs bedroom. If they are struggling to remember your name, wear a name badge. By providing the tools for success, you are also providing ways to stay engaged and memory clues.
Dementia is hard. If caring becomes too much, there are options. Whether this looks like a live-in carer or, a complete move to a live-in care home. The key point is if the responsibility is too much and stress (or grief) has taken over, it is time to ask for help. This is for your sake as much as the loved one with dementia too.