10 Tips to Keep a Family Caregiver from Losing Their Mind


Caring full time for a loved one can be a challenging task, and it takes a special person to get the job done right. Patience and compassion are the two top qualities a caregiver must possess in order to be successful. Caring for someone who suffers from Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia can be an uphill battle at times. This requires planning on behalf of the caregiver in order to keep from burning out. The following are useful tips on how to remain a hardworking caregiver while maintaining your sanity:

1. Maintain hobbies or interests. Find time to do the things you enjoy. You'll find that life outside of care giving has a lot to offer. By taking the time to enjoy your interests, you'll feel motivated to keep caring for your loved one.

2. Join a support group. There are many online and community support groups that offer assistance and a place where you can express your frustrations and concerns. You can find support groups at your local Alzheimer's Association or other organizations.

3. Respite Services. Take advantage of respite help made available by local nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Sometimes getting away for a short weekend helps rejuvenate your soul.

4. Get plenty of exercise. Even if walking the dog on a daily basis is all you have time for, every bit of physical activity helps reduce stress.

5. Just say "No". Be aware of your limits and don't be afraid to say "no" when feel you can't take on the extra responsibility outside of your care giving duties. You'll thank yourself in the end.

6. Keep a journal. It's important to express yourself. Keep track of your thoughts and your goals. It also helps to read and ponder past entries to see how far you've come.

7. Maintain a healthy diet. Don't skip meals and don't consume foods that may cause irritability such as caffeine. You need all the brain power you can get, and by maintaining healthy eating habits, you'll be a better caregiver and a healthier person as a result.

8. Have a support system in place. It's important to have family members available for respite care. It's equally important to connect with friends that you're able to communicate your feelings with.

9. Take frequent breaks. It is important to prevent both physical and emotional burn-out. Take frequent breaks with the help of your support system and community services such as hospice and home health care agencies.

10. Become an educated caregiver. It's important to understand the disease or condition your loved one is faced with. Having an awareness of the techniques and strategies designed solely for specific diseases will make your care giving experience less stressful. Be aware of the community services available as well as the benefits through Medicare.

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Torey Farnsworth has over 12 years of experience working with seniors. Ms. Farnsworth's vast expertise encompasses a wide variety of senior issues ranging from adult care to elder law. Most recently, Torey served as Elder Law Director and Paralegal for a Phoenix based law firm where she provided assistance in a variety of areas including long term care planning, estate planning, ALTCS eligibility and Medicaid planning. Ms. Farnsworth is also a certified caregiver with the State of Arizona as well as a Certified Senior Advisor. Ms. Farnsworth has spent her career in senior care as her family owns and operates assisted living homes.

Ms. Farnsworth owns and operates a senior care placement business in Arizona called Horizon Senior Care Referral. Her placement services are free to seniors and their families. For information on placement services in Arizona, visit http://adultcarecentral.com/

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