By Deborah Bier, PhD, director of special populations
Most people with dementia want to live at home, rather than in a facility. A memory unit, assisted living community or skilled nursing facility simply cannot match the familiar comfort of home. As a family caregiver, one of the most effective ways you can help your loved one continue to live at home, through all stages of dementia, is to proactively address your own self-care needs.
Caregiving for someone with dementia takes a toll over time. Caregiving stress can have physical and mental consequences on the caregiver, including increased illness, depression and risk of death. According to the Alzheimer's Association, 59 percent of family caregivers who care for a loved one with dementia describe their emotional stress as high to very high.
If this continual stress is not relieved, it can result in caregiver burnout, a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion. Unfortunately, caregiver burnout can turn the most upbeat and caring family caregiver into someone who is downcast and apathetic. Burnout also may lead to inadequate care of the person with dementia, thus resulting in placement in a care facility.
As a family caregiver, you need help on the caregiving journey. It requires a team to provide the necessary care and supervision for a loved one with dementia, from mid-stage through end of life. This includes using dementia care best practices at all times.
If you hire additional help, you will want to schedule sufficient hours so the caregiver can develop and maintain a good relationship with your loved one. This positive relationship combined with proper dementia care approaches allows care tasks to be completed with more cooperation and enjoyment.
Assistance with the daily responsibilities of caregiving can improve your own well-being. This will provide you with the energy, encouragement and endurance for caregiving so your loved one with dementia can continue to live at home. Give yourself a break with respite care and check out our other tips for family caregivers.
ComForCare offers in-home care for those with dementia. Respite, companionship and personal care services are available. Count on us for the help you need, when you need it.
Watch our video to learn more about the topic.
ComForCare | At Your Side Home Care
Deborah Bier hosts monthly videos that focus on real-life issues for families and health care professionals who care for people with dementia.
She has a master’s in counseling psychology and a doctorate in therapeutic counseling. In addition, Deborah has obtained the following credentials:
Mental Health First Aid – National Council for Behavioral Health