The demands of being a caregiver for an older loved one with a memory disease can be exhausting and challenging.
When your loved one experiences symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, such as memory loss, and cognitive decline, their needs will increase.
Trying to meet the needs of a senior loved one can be overwhelming and lead to caregiver stress and fatigue.
Kensington Place Redwood City invites Dr. Anya Parpura, an aging and dementia expert, to host virtual support groups for caregivers.
Dr. Aleksandra Parpura, MD, Ph.D., will lead our Caregiver Connect Program and bring to us vast knowledge, helpful tips, and a kind heart.
She is also the president of Aging Perspectives, Inc., the Scientific Review Officer for a variety of biomedical programs, an adjunct professor at The Catholic University of America, and a faculty member at the Washington School of Psychiatry.
During these virtual events, Dr. Anya Parpura shares her expert advice on maintaining relationships during the caregiver journey and tips on relieving stress.
Caregivers also have the chance to connect with others by sharing stories and listening to the experiences of other caregivers.
Having this opportunity can make caregivers feel less alone and more understood and leave with support and solutions.
Learn more about caregiver stress and burnout, how to get help and care for yourself, how to maintain relationships, and where to find a loving and compassionate memory care community for your loved one.
The signs and symptoms of caregiver burnout
If your loved one is in the first stage of a memory disease, they may be independent enough to take care of themselves with minimal assistance.
However, since memory diseases are progressive, your loved one’s symptoms will worsen over time, meaning their care needs will increase.
As their needs grow, your mental and physical health may start to decline as you experience emotional and physical exhaustion.
Caregiver stress comes before caregiver burnout, and there are steps you can take to regain peace, happiness, and good health.
Watch out for the following signs of caregiver stress:
- Becoming irritated quickly
- Becoming angry easily
- Feeling overwhelmed or anxious
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Being forgetful
- Having trouble concentrating
- Experiencing frequent headaches or body aches
- Feeling sad
- Feeling tired often
If you begin to experience any of these symptoms you must reach out for help, or caregiving will take its toll on your mental, emotional, and physical health.
When a caregiver’s health starts to decline, it is a sure sign that they are entering the stage of caregiver burnout.
The most common symptoms of caregiver burnout include:
- Becoming argumentative
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Feelings of loneliness and isolation
- Physical exhaustion
- Feeling you’re losing control of your life
- Losing interest in the things you enjoy
- Neglecting your needs and health
- Unusual changes in weight
- Weakened immune system
Ask for help with your caregiving responsibilities
The best way to improve your own health and well-being is to reach out for help.
There are many local resources out there when you start to feel caregiver burden.
Caregivers who neglect their health are at risk for mental illnesses and chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and arthritis.
While many caregivers often feel guilty when they put their own needs first, it ultimately benefits both the caregiver and their loved one.
To be a compassionate and successful caregiver, you need to be healthy, as you cannot pour from an empty cup.
Get the family involved
If you’re a family caregiver, enlisting the help of other family members and friends can ease your duties and give you more time to take care of your responsibilities and health.
Perhaps another family member can prepare evening meals and give you the evenings off to relax.
Give yourself a break
With the help of family members, friends, or other health care professionals, you can give yourself a break.
Taking some time away from caregiving is essential to give you time to calm down, focus on yourself, and rest.
Take care of your own health
Your health is just as important as your loved one’s.
To promote good mental, physical, and emotional health, eat a well-balanced diet, exercise 30 minutes a day, and engage in mindfulness.
There are various calming hobbies you can try out to maintain your health, such as yoga, meditation, coloring, gardening, puzzles, and baking.
Join caregiver support groups
You can find caregiver support groups locally or online.
Support groups can help caregivers relieve stress and feel less lonely as they speak with others who share similar experiences.
Kensington Place Redwood City offers a caregiver support group for those feeling intimidated, confused, frustrated, and exhausted.
Maintaining relationships with a spouse, siblings, friends, or other family members
It can be challenging to maintain relationships with loved ones when you spend so much time caregiving. So many caregivers feel they must give up their own lives, which is a harmful way of thinking.
Instead of neglecting your own needs and your relationships with others, you must set boundaries. While making some sacrifices is acceptable, communicating your limits can save your health and relationships.
Your boundaries should include how many hours a week you are willing to offer caregiver services, which duties you’ll take care of, and how often you need a break.
Once you set boundaries, you’ll have time to spend with your spouse, children, friends, and other important people.
To maintain your relationships, you may want to consider:
- Bi-weekly or monthly date nights with your spouse
- A weekly movie night or activity with your children
- Bi-weekly or monthly coffee date with a close friend or sibling
- Family dinners together, each night, or every other night
- Stay connected by having conversations often
- Celebrate holidays and birthdays together
- Take a class or learn a hobby together
Kensington Place Redwood City—your partners in your caregiving journey
Being a caregiver is a selfless, fulfilling job that can also become overwhelming and exhausting.
At Kensington Place Redwood City, our team understands that caregivers need support and empowerment, and seniors need compassion and care to maintain a high quality of life.
We carry on Our Promise to love and care for your loved one as we do our own by offering our residents:
- Around-the-clock care
- Licensed nurses
- Medication administration and injections
- Cardiac care
- Pain management
- Rehabilitation services with HealthPro Heritage
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Exquisite dining services and specialty diets
- Life-enrichment activities
- Alzheimer’s care
- Dementia care
- Psychological and psychiatric services
- Cozy and safe suites