Caring for someone with memory loss is stressful. The following are normal feelings caregivers have expressed. If you find these feelings are making it hard for you to care for yourself or a loved one, be sure and talk to your health care provider.
• Anger: You may feel angry that your loved one has dementia, and anger that there is no cure. You may feel frustrated at other family members for not helping more.
• Lack of energy: You may feel that you are too tired to do all the things you want to do in a day.
• Isolation: You may find caring for someone leaves little time and energy for fun things. And it may seem like few people understand your problems.
• Lack of sleep: You may not be able to get 6-8 hours of sleep every night. This may leave you tired during the day.
• Sadness: You may feel sad that your loved one has changed.
• Worry: You may find it hard not to worry about the future, and your ability to cope with being a caregiver
The stress of caregiving can make you prone to illness. Think about ways to take care of yourself:
Coping with Care Giving
• Knowing about the stages of the disease will help you manage tough behaviors. You can plan ahead for the kinds of help that you may need. Consult a health professional for information on caring for someone with dementia.
• Discuss the stress you are feeling with your health care provider. To pretend things are OK takes a lot of energy.
• Take care of yourself. Also, eat right, exercise and get help when needed.
• Few caregivers and families are able to handle caregiving by themselves for the entire length of the disease.
• It is better to arrange for help sooner than later. If you wait until you are exhausted, you may not be able to bounce back. Take care to prevent burnout.
• If you want to provide the direct care most of the time, let people help with other things such as cooking, errands, or getting your car fixed.
• Do not expect others to read your mind about what would be helpful. Most people want to help but need you to tell them what needs to be done.
• Planning time off every week is important for you. Use the time to do something fun. Have lunch with a friend. Work out. See a movie. Take a nap. If you are rested, you will do a better job.
• Consider a support group. Meeting other families who are also caregiving a loved one with dementia can be very helpful.
The Alzheimer’s Association is a great source of information. You can contact them at 1-800-272-3900 or www.alz.org.
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of WI is another great resource. You can contact them at 1-888-308-6251 or www.alzwisc.org
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 01/22/2013
Copyright © 10/25/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5266
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