The role of caregiver can be a long, emotional journey.
There will be many bumps in the road along the way, but when you find the support you need, the stress will lessen.
As Alzheimer’s disease and dementia progress, it becomes more challenging to care for a senior loved one, causing caregivers to feel overwhelmed and alone.
With that understanding, The Kensington Sierra Madre and Hilarity for Charity (HFC) came together to present CareCon.
Hosted by Co-Founder Lauren Miller Logan, CareCon was designed to educate, empower, and inspire caregivers.
The free, virtual event featured panel conversations and expert-led workshops, providing caregivers with resources, connections, and tips.
The Challenges and Rewards of Being a Caregiver
No one wants to watch their loved one’s health decline, but we will all experience it in life.
Though it can be stressful, lonely, depressing, and time-consuming, there are rewards to being a caregiver.
Caring for someone you love when they need you the most shows you how valuable you are to them. You have the opportunity to make their days go smoother and form a strong bond with them.
As you care for your senior you will make more memories together and gain a better perspective on life. You may notice how meaningless some things are when you realize what matters the most in life.
You will be a role model to the children and young adults in your family as they watch you show unconditional love to a senior family member.
Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s or Dementia
If your senior loved one was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, it may be difficult to accept the diagnosis.
However, after you have accepted that they have an incurable disease, you may want to discuss what type of care they need and from where. Begin these discussions early so your loved one will have more say over what happens to them, and you have an opportunity to honor their wishes.
In the beginning stages of your loved one’s disease, you will also want to plan your future. While at first, it won’t be difficult to care for them, as their disease progresses your caregiving role will become more difficult.
Find resources and support early on so that you can decide on what type of self-care you will need to protect your mental health later.
Make Self-Care a Priority
Often, Caregivers put their needs last, and forget they need to be taken care of too. Unfortunately, this can lead to caregiver stress and burnout.
During the Coping for Comedy workshop that was included in the CareCon event, caregivers learned self-care tips and how to make laughter a priority.
Laughter is the best medicine. During a good laugh, blood pressure and blood sugar levels go down, blood flow increases, stress and tension are reduced, and pain is alleviated.
Staying active is a great self-care strategy too. Physical exercise, such as a brisk walk, yoga, or any activity that gets you moving, releases endorphins that increase your mood.
Caregivers should ensure they find ways to stay socialized, even when it seems difficult or time-consuming. While you may feel that grabbing a coffee with a friend will take up more time than you have, you will leave feeling happier and more like yourself.
There is always time for self-care.
Build a Support System
Even the supporter needs support sometimes.
When you are a caregiver, seeking help is not optional, it is necessary. If you don’t take care of yourself, your mental health will decline, and you become at risk for caregiver burnout.
There are caregiver support groups available that are beneficial for those who don’t have anyone to talk to and feel isolated. Talking with others who understand what you are going through, and can offer you tips will make you feel less alone.
CareCon is just one of the many events The Kensington Sierra Madre has offered. You may also like to check out our two series of support groups for caregivers — Caregiver Connect with Jill Love and the Virtual Creative Workshops with Dr. Marsha Nelson.
Register for these free, virtual events on our website and remember that you’re not alone.
Another way to build your support group is to turn to family members. Often, they will offer their help, and you should accept it. There is no need to care for your senior loved one alone when others want to be on your team.
Resources for Caregivers
There are many places caregivers can look to find resources. Below are just some of the many options available to those looking to educate themselves on memory diseases.
- Essential Strategies for the Dementia Caregiver: Learning to Pace Yourself, by Tami Anastasia
- The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer’s Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss, 6th edition, by Nancy L. Mace & Peter V. Robins
- Learning to Speak Alzheimer’s: A Groundbreaking Approach for Everyone Dealing with the Disease, by Joanne Koenig Coste
- Surviving Alzheimer’s: Practical Tips and Soul Saving Wisdom for Caregivers, by Paula Spencer Scott
- Alzheimer’s Association (National)
- Caregivers Guide to Understanding Dementia Behavior’s
- Caregiver Stress Check
- Hilarity for Charity
A Compassionate Community for Your Loved One
The Kensington Sierra Madre understands how essential it is for your loved one to receive the best care and treatment.
Our Promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own.
At our assisted living and memory care communities, residents experience high acuity care provided by experienced and caring staff.
Contact us to learn more about our cozy and safe homes!