Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease can be overwhelming and seeing the person you love struggle with loss of memory, and eventual loss of identity, takes a huge enormous emotional and physical toll on caregivers.
If you are a caregiver, pay attention to the following signs of caregiver stress:
- Excessive stress and tension
- Debilitating depression
- Persistent anxiety, anger, or guilt
- Extreme irritability or anger with the person with memory loss
- Change in sleep habits
- Change in eating habits
Ways you can help avoid caregiver stress:
- Exercise regularly
Walking, yoga and jogging are all great ways to help reduce stress. As your brain and heart receive the benefits of exercise, the caregiver will feel more relaxed and find they have more energy.
- Keep a journal
Keeping a journal can help reduce stress and you don’t have to worry about being a professional writer. Your journal is for your eyes only, and gives you the opportunity to express your feelings and emotions. It can be very healing.
- Talk to people you trust
Having a close friend or family member you can talk to, without holding back, can be very therapeutic. Turning to the people you trust will provide you with the emotional support you need while helping to reduce your stress and anxiety.
- Learn to Relax
Taking the time to learn deep breathing techniques, meditation, and practicing mindfulness, can be very beneficial in reducing stress. They have both immediate, and long term benefits and can help you learn to relax when your stress and anxiety is at its highest.
- Learn to Let Go
Be willing to let go and delegate some of your caregiving responsibilities to others. As you become more comfortable allowing others to chip-in and help you care for your loved one, you’ll discover that by doing so, you are taking better care of yourself. Use this time to exercise, talk with a friend or practice your relaxation techniques.