3 Tips to Manage Caregiver Stress
Bobrowski shares the following tips to help caregivers cope with stress, improve their health, and enhance their ability to care for their loved ones:
- Meet your loved ones where they are. Instead of trying to bring them back to a reality that’s not there anymore, learn to work with where they are. If they are re-living past memories, chat about whatever they are thinking; focus on feelings, not facts. Don’t push your parents to be someone they no longer are. Ask them to tell you more about what they are thinking. Sometimes a simple “tell me about it” will help spark a conversation. Practicing new conversational skills will help you forge an improved relationship with your aging loved one and reduce stress.
- Reach out for help. We are sometimes reluctant to ask for help. But there may be a neighbor, a friend, a relative, or if is feasible, a home care worker who can spend time with your loved one. Even just a few hours can be enough for you to take care of personal business, read a few chapters in a book, go shopping, or have some quiet time to yourself. Respite care is also a good option that offers caregivers the chance to recharge their batteries.
- Talk to others going through the same situation. It may feel like you are the only one going through what you are experiencing. United Hebrew offers support groups for people caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Attendees receive practical advice, learn about community resources, and improve their coping skills. It’s a tangible way to gain a sense of control over your situation.