If you have ever traveled anywhere by plane, you know that there’s always a demonstration given to passengers on board about the safety features of the aircraft, as well as what to do should an in-flight emergency occur.
One emergency safety rule emphasizes the importance of fitting your oxygen mask on yourself first before assisting anyone else. It seems selfish to do that, but it makes sense. In an in-flight emergency, you must take care of yourself first so that you are capable of taking care of someone else, such as a child, or someone with a disability or an elderly person.
Think about that in terms of your role as a caregiver to a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “35% of caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s or another dementia report that their health has gotten worse due to care responsibilities, compared to 19% of caregivers for older people without dementia.”
This is not good. You have an important job to do, but you don’t want to jeopardize your own health doing it. Your loved one needs you, and as your loved one continues down this devastating path to its end, that need will only intensify, as will the toll on you. Unfortunately, that is a coldhearted fact.
Caregiving should include caring for you too. Boost your health with these self-care tips:
- Do you tend to eat a lot of salty snacks? Nibble on fruits and vegetables instead.
- Are you a soda drinker? Switch to water, and drink lots of it.
- Are you a couch potato? Get outside and take a walk in the sunshine.
- Get more sleep, if you can.
And ask for help. It’s okay to take a break from caregiving. You deserve it.