Caring for a loved one with memory loss can be rewarding – and very, very frustrating. Throw in the emotional and physical tolls it can take on a family caregiver, and it’s easy to see how one can lose sight of the rewards.
“Staying positive, especially as the person’s dementia progresses and care needs increase, can take a lot of patience and a lot of practice,” says Danielle Buck, Director of Community Relations at YourLife™ of Stuart, a Memory Care community in Stuart, Florida. “Luckily, there are strategies that can help caregivers improve their experience.”
In this post, we’re sharing 8 strategies for a more positive caregiving journey.
1. Take care of yourself. This one’s obvious, but busy caregivers often struggle to make time for self-care and may even feel guilty for taking a break, no matter how well-deserved. Keeping a positive attitude when you’re caring for your loved one, however, requires you to feel good and have energy, a clear head and renewed focus. When you’re feeling frustrated or stressed, make time to meditate, get a massage, take a long walk or a long bath, and get your rest. If necessary, ask a friend or family member to care for your loved one for a few hours so you can relax and rejuvenate without worrying about your loved one.
2. Cut yourself some slack. Aiming for perfection – a virtually unattainable goal when it comes to caring for a loved one with dementia – is a quick way to lose confidence and sour your mood when things don’t go as smoothly as you’d envisioned. Ran out of your loved one’s favorite cereal? Didn’t get to that last load of laundry? Don’t, as they say, sweat the small stuff.
3. Cut your loved one some slack. When your loved one’s behaviors have you at your wits’ end, remember they are not trying to upset you. If your loved one gets angry because you accidentally give them the blue cup instead of the red, take a deep breath, switch out the cups, and move on. If they keep asking the same question over and over, take another deep breath and try validation therapy or distract them with an activity.
4. Focus on the positives. What are you doing well? What did you do to make your loved one smile today? Are they safe and happy? Acknowledging successes, no matter how small or fleeting, can give you a boost of confidence and remind you that you’re doing a good job.
5. Find out what R-E-S-P-E-C-T means to you. Applying these Seven Common Senses of Dementia Care principles – Respect, Enlist help, Safety, Preparation, Engagement, Consistency, Tolerance – can help you get organized and educated, be proactive, and create a more positive caregiving experience. Learn about these principles and see if your current approaches could benefit from more R-E-S-P-E-C-T!
6. Create a Positive Environment for Your Loved One – and for You. Play music you both enjoy and diffuse essential oils that boost your mood. Pine, citrus, rosemary and peppermint are a few proven feel-good scents.
7. Join a support group. With more than 16,000,000 Americans providing unpaid dementia care, you are definitely not alone! Caregiver support groups are great sources of emotional support and dementia education, as well as opportunities for you to take a break, breathe, and socialize with other people who understand what you’re going through.
8. Remember why you’re doing this. Caring for someone with dementia can be a lonely, thankless task. Even if others don’t recognize all you do or appreciate the personal sacrifices you’re making, remind yourself that you are making life safe, comfortable and more joyful for someone you love.
For more tips on how to keep a positive attitude and improve your caregiver experience, contact the team at YourLife™ of Stuart at 772-212-2448. Our dementia care experts will be happy to help!
Designed for You. Defined by You.
YourLife™ of Stuart was created with one purpose – to provide the most exceptional Memory Care and uplifting lifestyle for our residents. As Memory Care specialists, we focus all our energy, attention and resources on creating a community that caters to each resident’s personal needs, respects their choices and honors individuality, while providing unequaled peace of mind and support for families.
Because Memory Care is our sole focus, we have the unique ability to design and personally tailor plans around our residents. We see each resident as an individual, understanding that everyone has their own story, specific needs and retained abilities. With that information, we develop personally inspired care plans that value and support each person’s independence.
Our team of attentive, caring YourLife™ Personal Care Specialists is on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide assistance with everyday activities, gentle reminders and redirection.
Through our signature programming, YourStory, we create an individual experience centered around each resident. From cultural, educational and health and wellness programming, scheduled outings and other special events to personal care, assistance and multiple therapies, we create days with meaning. At YourLife™ of Stuart, our residents and families know that this is a community designed for you, with a lifestyle defined by you. Contact us to learn more!
Call 772-212-2448 for more information or to schedule a personal visit today.