When dealing with a loved one's diagnosis and progression of Alzheimer's disease its important that the family members also take care of themselves. Your loved one is no longer the same person that you once knew. They can't remember specific details of the past, as it progresses they lose more and more memories and events of life. They may lash out and become frustrated because they cannot do all the things they once did. Personality changes occur and it can take a toll on the people watching it happen. With all the added pressures and responsibilities it is normal to feel overwhelmed. This can take a significant toll on your emotional and physical well-being. You must find time to take care of yourself as well.
Having a Support System:
Family members have different reactions to dealing with stressful situations. If you feel the rest of your family doesn't understand what you are going through find another support system. You can join a support group in your area. Getting some information on what other people are going through with loved ones may make you feel like you're not alone. Learning more about the disease can help you feel more confident in caring for your loved one. Knowledge is always power.
Ease your Guilt:
Being the caregiver for a loved one doesn't mean you have to feel guilty for taking time for yourself. Its okay to have a life outside of caring for a loved one. They do not have to consume your life. Don't feel guilty for taking some time away from responsibilities and letting another handle some while you take a break.
Its okay to say no to requests that you cannot handle. we cannot care for someone else 24 hour a day and neglect ourselves. Doing that will hurt you as well as the person you care for. Accept the help when a friend or family member asks. It will help take some stress off you.
Take a break. It is extremely important you take some time for yourself. Whether its a few hours relaxing reading a book, or a weekend away take the time. Although it may be uncomfortable to bring up, talking about the issues within the family pertaining to the care of your loved one is important. In the long run it will benefit everyone and help decrease stress for all parties.
Create Healthy Habits:
It is crucial you take care of your body. Make sure you're getting enough sleep at night. When you are running on little to no sleep stress and chance of illness increases. Lack of proper sleep can cause irritability, anger, and exhaustion. Make sure you are getting enough exercise and eating a balanced diet, this will help with your mind set and boost your confidence in your care-giving abilities.