This will go a long way in preventing you from becoming overwhelmed, as well as help your loved one get used to being taken care of by others and not become too dependent on you.
Primary caregivers for those with Alzheimer’s or other memory problems spend an overwhelming amount of time and energy taking care of their loved ones, and very often neglect their own health as well as their emotional, social and spiritual needs.
Caregiving creates powerful stressors, and caregivers must take steps to safeguard their own well-being. When caregivers fail to do this, it can lead to depression, caregiver burnout or cause the caregiver to become too ill to continue.
Early on in the disease, caregivers usually are able to handle the load without any help. They do not always tell family and friends the extent of their caregiving role and tend not to ask for help or accept offers of help. However, as the disease progresses, the day-to-day care of someone with Alzheimer’s is too much for one person to do alone.
If you are a caregiver, signs that you are taking on too much include physical problems such as headaches, trouble sleeping, changes in appetite or weight, exhaustion, depression or trouble concentrating. You may be feeling overly stressed and overwhelmed. Seek help from your doctor, clergy, professional counselor, family or close friend if you have any of these symptoms.
There are 5.4 million Americans with Alzheimer’s. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 15.4 million family members and friends provided 17.5 billion hours of unpaid care to those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias in 2012.
When you fly on an airplane, you are told to put the oxygen on yourself first before you help others. This is to ensure you are in optimal condition first before giving your energy to help someone else. Caregivers must understand the importance of this advice and make taking care of themselves a priority.