Caregiver Tips for Those with Dementia or Memory Loss
Jan. 1, 2023
By Danielle Andersen
How to Care for Someone with Dementia or Memory Loss
People with dementia or other forms of memory loss require constant attention, and it can be easy for a caregiver to look past their own needs to remain focused on the person in their care. Although it is important that dementia patients have close monitoring and consistent care, it is also important for caregivers of those with dementia to fulfill their own needs. If you or someone you know is overwhelmed with caring for a loved one with dementia or other forms of memory loss these tips may help ensure that everyone is properly cared for:
Be in the know. Learn all you can about your family member’s illness, how it will progress, and what to expect. Knowledge will help you be more effective and less frustrated as a caregiver of someone with dementia or memory loss. Ask your family member’s doctor for information, contact trustworthy organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association, and look for reliable online resources. It is also important that you recognize and acknowledge your own needs. Understanding how to care for yourself and knowing what you need in order to be the best caregiver will aid in feelings of being overwhelmed and helpless. You cannot properly care for others if you do not first care for yourself.
Don’t try to do it all. You have limits, physically and emotionally. You will feel better if you let others know when you need a break. Avoid the guilt trip trap. Know that it is okay to take a step back and acknowledge that you need a break. If you continue to push your limits and burn yourself out, the quality of care for your loved one will begin to decline. Seek help if you need it, whether that is asking another family member or getting professional help such as respite care or memory care. Sometimes the best way to care for a loved one with dementia or memory loss is to step back and get professional help so you can focus on spending quality time with your loved one.
Express your feelings. As a primary caregiver for someone with dementia, you will feel a range of emotions: exhaustion, anger, depression, guilt, resentment, helplessness, and grief, amongst others. These are common feelings for people in your position. Don’t keep them to yourself. Find someone to talk to, that might be a family member, friend, counselor, or someone else you trust. It is important that you express these emotions in a healthy way, so they are not reflected in the care you provide to your loved one.
Seek caregiver support. One of the best strategies for coping with your role as a caregiver of someone with dementia or memory loss is to join a caregiver support group. The collective experience of the group will benefit you over and over again and can provide you with caregiver advice. By sharing with others who are dealing with the same issues you are, you will feel less helpless and alone. You will find that you can say things to your fellow support group members that you may not be able to say to anyone else. For groups in your area, check with your family member’s doctor, your hospital, the Alzheimer’s Association, or the Well Spouse Association.
Seek professional help. Although it may be a difficult decision that takes careful consideration and thought, sometimes the best way to properly care for a loved one with dementia or other forms of memory loss is to get professional help. Memory care can offer your loved one specialized care and professional caregivers trained to properly monitor and care for your loved one’s condition. Memory Care in our Alexandria and Park Rapids communities offers 24-hour monitoring and care, reassurance, comfort, redirection, and activities to support social and mental stimulation and an enhanced quality of life for those living with dementia or other forms of memory loss.
Is it time to get help? Take this short assessment to learn if memory care might be right for your loved one. If you are ready to connect with a professional from our team, you can contact us at (320)335-8786 or fill out an inquiry form.
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- Bob Wood, son of former Knute Nelson Memory Care patient
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