Three ways Alzheimer’s Caregivers Can Care for Themselves

Three ways Alzheimer’s Caregivers Can Care for Themselves

We’ve all heard it any time we board an airplane, “In the event of an emergency, secure yourself before assisting others,” the same can be said when providing care to a loved one.

Often when trying to balance caregiving, work, family and obligations, caregivers find themselves unable to care for their loved one due to poor health. Almost half of caregivers report having serious chronic conditions including heart attack, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis. That’s almost double the rate for non-caregivers. And 60 percent of caregivers reported fair or poor health status, one or more chronic conditions, or a disability; almost double the rate for non-caregivers.

So how does one prevent declining health and compassion fatigue?

  1. Make healthy living a priority. It is imperative that you get enough rest, exercise frequently and eat well. Have a friend or if possible a sitter to come visit with your loved one while you work out or take a quick nap.
  2. Find and use a support system. Even if you don’t have family nearby, consider reaching out to local caregiver support groups and meeting people who can relate to your experiences. Local health organizations and doctor’s offices, as well as the local area Covenant Alzheimer’s Care can provide educational materials and connect you to caregiving resources and support groups.
  3. Schedule breaks. Giving yourself time to recharge mentally and emotionally ensures you can give your best self to your loved one and will keep you healthy. Using respite care to take breaks gives you a chance to recharge and helps you take care of your own health, preventing the serious negative health effects that caregiving can cause. Respite care allows family caregivers to take a break; these services can take place at an assisted living facility for longer periods or in the home.

Caregiving is challenging and it is near impossible to be a 100% all of the time, protecting your loved one and your health means taking care of the caregiver- you! If youwould like more information about Covenant Care’s caregiver’s support groups, resources, and programs reach out to our Care Navigation Center at 1.855.CARE.365 or visit Alzheimer’s programs link on our webpage.