Caring for a family member or loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia isn’t easy. Alzheimer’s disease is often referred to as “the long goodbye.” The journey it forces families to take is physically and emotionally demanding in ways different than any other type of illness. Caregivers often fail to recognize how much caring for a loved one with dementia compromises their own mental and physical health.
Do you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself?
- Lack of concentration
- Feelings of despair
- No interest in social activities and hobbies
- Stomach problems
- Unintended weight gain or weight loss
These are all signs of caregiver stress. It’s not uncommon to feel one or many of these at any given time. As a caregiver, you may find yourself with so many responsibilities that you neglect taking care of yourself. But the best thing you can do for the person you are caring for is stay physically and emotionally strong. This includes visiting your physician regularly and listening to what your body is telling you. All of the mentioned symptoms should be taken seriously. Ignoring them can cause your physical and mental health to decline.
Family caregivers need breaks and should take them on a regular basis. Talk to families and friends and tell them specific ways they can help. People that care about you are looking to help but don’t know how. Take them up on their offers. Don’t be afraid to ask them to come sit with your loved one so you can get out for some “me time.” The benefits are great!