You will probably never forget the day your loved one was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. That day most likely marked a totally different direction for your life because you knew in your heart that you would be the one to take responsibility for your loved one’s care.
What you may not have known when you made that commitment was how hard it would be.
Caregiving, especially for a family member, can take a tremendous toll on your health and wellbeing.
To help you cope, the Alzheimer’s Association suggests that you find ways to manage stress; understand that you are making a difference and doing the best you can; “focus on positive times…and enjoy good memories” instead of trying to change behaviors that are out of your control; and don’t feel guilty if you feel you can’t do it all by yourself. After, all, everyone has limits.
There are resources and other caregiving options to help you. In fact, “take a break” from caregiving and let other professionals step in when you feel you can’t cope and need to get away for a while.
The poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”
Be good to yourself to be good to your loved one. That may be hard advice to follow, but it’s very important to pay attention to your needs during this difficult time.
If you feel you need support in coping with caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you are not alone. “More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.” Reach out. Caregiving services are available to help.