5 ways to care for yourself when looking after someone who suffers from dementia
Updated: Aug 12
If you look after someone who suffers from dementia and feel stressed or anxious, you’re not alone. One recent survey revealed that nine carers in ten feel this way several times a week. What’s more, four-fifths of carers said they struggle to talk about their worries.
It’s not uncommon to feel under immense pressure when looking after a partner, parent or relative with dementia. And, many people feel guilty when they take time out for themselves. However, if you don’t look after yourself, the risk is that you may just burn out – meaning you’ll be less able to provide care long term.
Let’s look at some ways you can manage this difficult situation.
1. Ask for help
If you are caring full time for someone who suffers from dementia and are feeling highly stressed for long periods, it is important to acknowledge that stress can be a trigger for more serious health conditions. Talk to your physician immediately if you are experiencing symptoms of severe, long-term stress. They will be able to provide advice on how to cope in relation to your personal situation.
2. Eat well and exercise
Eating a well-balanced diet and exercising on a regular basis can play a big role in helping you when caring for someone who is suffering from dementia. Healthy food will give you all the nutrition you need and even basic exercise – such as a 30-minute walk around the block a couple of times a week – can help clear your mind and boost your overall mood.
3. Time for yourself each day
When you’re caring for someone with dementia, you may feel the need to be with them at every moment to ensure they don’t feel lonely or accidentally injure themselves. While this is a positive sentiment, it is also valuable for you to take some time alone to refresh – even if it’s just ten minutes a couple of times per day to have a hot drink and listen to the radio. The time spent unwinding can do wonders for your mood and motivation.
4. Use tech to connect
Thanks to new kinds of technology there’s numerous ways you can keep caring for someone suffering from dementia without having to constantly be in their company. Whether it’s systems that help you control the heating or air conditioning in their home or day clocks which let you remind them of appointments, technology can help you have time for yourself while still caring from a distance.
5. Mentally detach yourself
It’s not uncommon for people suffering from dementia to become aggressive or rude. At these times it’s vital to detach yourself mentally from the situation – know that it is the illness talking, not the person you know and love. By not taking insults personally, you protect yourself.
How do you give yourself a break when caring for someone with dementia? Leave a reply in the box below.