When family members step in as new caregivers, they are stepping up to fill big shoes. If the senior loved one has a progressive memory loss condition such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, they will see first hand how the disease will change their behavior. It’s a hard job, but an honorable one done out of love.
To help prevent caregiver burnout, there are a few ways to feel better prepared and equipped. This will ensure your wellbeing is kept in just as high of a standard as your loved one. Keep reading for five tips that help new family caregivers find peace of mind.
1. Build up a steady routine.
Seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s do better with a routine, and this will keep the caregiver feeling more in control and organized. Doing activities and tasks that are familiar to the senior will make them feel more comfortable in their surroundings, and the caregiver will be able to provide structure to the day.
A rigid schedule is not always necessary. Keeping a general idea of what each part of the day should entail is enough to give a sense of direction to the day. For instance, a simple flow of a morning routine could involve getting dressed and ready for the day, serving them breakfast, and making sure they take their needed medications afterwards.
2. Write everything down and make lists
A planner or calendar app on your phone can be the best tool for a caregiver to have. This is where you can record the routine you’ve set for individual days and the week as a whole, as well as note upcoming doctor’s appointments.
Making lists of items before writing them down on certain days also helps manage and delegate other tasks that hold greater importance over another or have more urgency. You’ll also be able to have thoughts organized all in one place.
Writing moments of success down like what the senior preferred for dinner after initially showing loss of appetite, or that a cup of tea helped them relax at night are helpful tricks you can make sure don’t get forgotten. Tracking their eating and sleep habits will also be beneficial in order to keep a close eye on monitoring their health.
3. Create a budget
A caregiver that plans out everything, even down to finances, will find themselves feeling more at ease. Depending on whether a loved one is receiving care from a family member in their own home, or was moved into the caregiver’s, unexpected finances can add up quickly.
A budget will change and by delegating importance and keeping track of recurring expenses. Caregivers who were working full-time jobs before their loved one needed them may be considering quitting or reducing hours, and should evaluate if hiring help would be more financial permitting than leaving a current job.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
It’s not unusual for some of us to have a hard time asking for help. When it comes to caregiving, allowing time for a break is just as essential as the countless hours devoted to the senior. Ask other relatives or close friends if they can assist with an errand, or watch over the loved one while you spend time out of the house.
5. Remember to take care of yourself
This is the most important item to remember as a caregiver. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the care for a senior loved one and not save any time for ourselves. You may feel guilt, but should have no reason to. A caregiver deserves self-care and needs it to not only benefit themselves as an individual, but also the senior receiving care.
Having low energy, too much stress, and the possibility of getting sick is not worth risking. If a caregiver doesn’t get enough sleep, eat healthily, exercise, or give time for relaxation, the risk of caregiver burnout can ultimately ensue.
Learn as You Go
As a new family caregiver for a condition that is likely one that’s never been faced before, the best thing you can do early on is learn as much as possible about the disease. Progressvie diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia offer challenges throughout all stages. Being educated will help the family know what to expect, and the best approach for working through difficult behavior.
Memory care communities are a consideration of many families as part of the care plan. Depending on the ability of the family members and what will best benefit the senior with memory loss, a care community may be the best option.
At Kensington Park, our expert team provides around the clock care, with state-of-the-art therapies that will engage their physical and mental wellbeing. Meal preparation is handled by our team of professionally trained chefs, serving up only flavorful dishes packed with the best nutrition for brain health.
If you have questions about our memory care or assisted living, give us a call today to learn more.