Caring for and supporting a loved one with dementia can be a challenge. Memory loss can cause changes in a person you know and love, making it even more difficult. Learning how to cope with the responsibilities of being a caregiver is vital for both you and your loved one. So, we’re here to support you by providing some tips to help.
First, let’s look at what can cause memory loss
A number of conditions can cause memory loss. The most well- known is dementia, which includes Alzheimer’s disease. These are progressive forms of memory loss and cognitive impairment for which there is no cure. Other potential causes of memory loss include certain medications or interactions between different medications, brain tumors, strokes and depression. Some of those conditions can be treated and the memory loss reversed if a diagnosis is made quickly. However, for many, memory loss is a progressive issue, and caregivers will be called on more and more for help.
How to approach your support as a caregiver
As you provide care, remember that your family member is experiencing a loss, and that he or about the disease. This may help to ease anxiety and decrease fear of the unknown. A daily routine also helps reduce stress by setting shared expectations. Try to incorporate activities that both of you enjoy and can do together.
Financial and legal matters may be difficult to discuss, but these are essential to address before memory loss becomes severe. Having a financial planner or lawyer present may help with these conversations.
It’s important to care for yourself while you are a caregiver. Make sure you’re eating healthy foods like lean meats, vegetables and fruits, and getting six to eight hours of sleep a night. Join a caregiver-support group where you can receive social support from others going through the same experiences.
With the right network of medical providers, family, friends and support groups, you can provide the care your loved one needs when they need it the most.
5 Tips for Caregivers
- Take a break. Find another family member or neighbor who can help out for a few hours and do something for yourself.
- Eat healthy foods and exercise. Taking care of your physical state is important for maintaining your mental health and your ability to cope.
- Find support. Go to a local in-person support meeting or find an online community. Ask your loved one’s provider for resources.
- Forgive yourself. If you were impatient or weren’t able to provide the care you hoped, don’t dwell on it.
- Ask for help and gratefully accept when it’s offered. You don’t have to do this all on your own.