When a family member is diagnosed with dementia, many people’s worlds completely change. As time moves on, memory loss can change the person you use to know and love, making it difficult to care for that person. As a caregiver, it is important to know the best ways to handle such situations. Here are a few tips for caregivers working with loved ones with dementia.
Do not feel ashamed if you need a break. Caring for a loved one can be hard work. Ask a family member or friend to help out for a few hours while you rest.
Gratefully accept help when it is offered. You are not alone in this journey.
Don’t be so hard on yourself. If you get frustrated or cannot care for this person in the ways you would like, do not dwell on it. You do not have to be perfect, just present.
Do not worry about correcting everything you loved-one mis-remembers. Sometimes it is easier for the caregiver to let the small stuff go and only focus on the big and/or current memories.
Stay healthy. In situations like this, it is often easy to let ourselves go. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise plan is an important aspect when it comes to coping.
Find support in those around you. Many other people in your community may be experiencing the same stress that you are. Reach out to them and form a support group. Talking to each other may open new avenues to coping mechanisms. Boone and Marion Counties both offer caregiver support groups. Boone County Caregiver Support Group meet the first Wednesday of each month at 11:30 at the Area Agency on Aging, located at 1510 Rock Springs Road, Harrison. Contact Michelle Byler at 870-743-1623 for more information. Marion County Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Support Group meets the first Tuesday of each month at 1:00 PM at the Marion County Senior Activity Center, located at 5966 Highway 202 East, Flippin. Contact Michelle Byler at 870-743-1623 for more information.