Caregiving can impact a person’s health; diabetes, hypertension, and pulmonary disease have all been linked to care-giver stress. This occurs when the caregiver focuses on their loved one’s health and do not sufficiently care for their own physical needs. Care giving and its responsibilities are demanding, so care givers must actively practice self-care to ensure their own well-being and to continue caring for their loved one. Self care for the care giver should include:
- Favorite activities that are independent in proximity and orientation to the individual being cared for
- Socializing with family and friends
- Exercise and a healthy diet
Respite provides relief to persons who are caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. Time away from caregiving responsibilities is essential to the well being of caregivers; respite care helps to reduce caregiver stress. Respite help is typically available through adult day programs or through respite care assistance programs provided by organizations like The Alzheimer’s Association. Respite care assistance programs also provide financial assistance to caregivers to secure respite services.
Another positive method for CG coping is education; being able to anticipate the declines — with education about the disease — helpa to reduce frustration. An informed caregiver has more reasonable expectations of decline (symptoms, course, and basic characteristics of the disease). An informed CG can also prepare for the possible challenges they’ll face ahead as the dementia worsens.