How to Manage the Stress of Caregiving for a Loved One Living with Dementia
11 million people—more than 10% of the U.S. population—provided 16 billion hours of unpaid care for loved ones living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
While it’s an enormous financial undertaking, it also comes at a great emotional cost: 20% to 40% of all caregivers report experiencing depression.
Here are some suggestions for managing the emotional toll that caregiving for a loved one can take:
Reducing stress, anger and frustration: When these feelings arise, understand they’re normal and expected. Our advice is to lead with compassion—both for yourself and those you care for—and allow yourself to feel the feeling. If it’s possible to remove yourself from the immediate situation while maintaining safety for everyone involved, give yourself a moment to do that. This can be a good way to de-escalate the situation and the intensity of your feelings. Create a time in your day to further manage those emotions by doing something physical, meditating, journaling or talking with someone.
Resolving guilt or shame: Many caregivers feel guilty that they’re unable to spend more time to support their loved ones. However, accepting the realities of your situation while setting clear boundaries for yourself is critical. Accepting the reality of a situation and setting boundaries are important steps in overcoming guilt and shame.
Leveraging innovative technology to alleviate burnout: Depression affects 20-40% of all caregivers; and 85% of family caregivers do not receive respite. Burnout occurs when people are stretched across many responsibilities for a long period of time, without relief or the right support.
Setting boundaries is invaluable when dealing with burnout, as is incorporating helpful technology and other resources to lighten the load. Technologies for caregivers range from online websites offering support to fall prevention technologies, like SafelyYou.
A recent survey found that 1 in 4 Americans are currently taking care of an aging loved one, and about one-third have a family member that has been diagnosed with dementia. While caring for aging loved ones is challenging in any circumstances, it becomes even more complicated for those caring for someone experiencing Alzheimer’s or dementia. Family caregivers need extra support, and the Alzheimer’s Association can point you to resources in your community and online. Remember, you are not alone, it is an act of strength to ask for help, and the best care you can provide for those you love is to also care for yourself.
MorningStar Senior Living
If your loved one lives far from family and friends, it could be time to move into a senior living community near their adult children where they’ll have the companionship of fellow seniors and a compassionate service team. At MorningStar Senior Living, a 24/7 team is dedicated to offer care and hospitality services that meet each resident’s social, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. Many of MorningStar’s communities offer within their secure Memory Care neighborhoods smart technologies like SafelyYou to elevate life and protect life for the most vulnerable among our residents.