Caring for a person living with dementia can be both rewarding and challenging. It can be so difficult to balance caregiving responsibilities with other aspects of life. However, there are practical ways to make caregiving easier and more manageable.
Here are 8 tips:
- Get organized: Consider using a planner or calendar. Establishing a routine, keeping track of tasks and appointments, and setting up systems can help make caregiving more efficient and less stressful.
- Seek help: Never be afraid to ask for help from friends, family, professional caregivers, organizations, or even support groups. It's important to have a support system to help you manage the demands of caregiving.
- Find support groups: Connecting with others who are also caring for a person living with dementia can be a great way to find support and share experiences. Look for local support groups or online communities for caregivers. Bambu Care has a great free online support community called Bambu Care Champions, if you are needing additional support along your care journey.
- Take breaks: You can't pour from an empty cup. It's important to take breaks and have time for yourself to recharge and prevent burnout. Consider enlisting friends and family or using respite care services to give yourself a break from caregiving responsibilities — even if it's just for a couple of hours.
- Practice self-care: Make sure to prioritize your own physical and emotional well-being. This might include getting enough rest, exercising, eating a healthy diet, finding ways to manage stress, and attending to your own health needs by scheduling a doctor's visit. This is all definitely easier said than done, but it is possible!
- Communicate with your partner: Communication is key to providing effective care. Make sure to listen to your partner's needs and concerns, and try to be understanding and patient. Even when verbal language is lost, there are still ways to tune in to your partner's non-verbals and to adequately respond back through your tone of voice and non-verbal gestures.
- Learn about dementia: Educate yourself about dementia in general as well as your partner's specific type of dementia, if it is known. This can help you better understand their needs, provide more effective care, and make caregiving easier for yourself. If you don't know where to start, consider investing in Bambu Care's With Intent Book or With Intent MasterClass, which provides you with the most essential information you need to know about dementia and dementia care.
- Seek legal and financial advice: Consider seeking advice from an elder law attorney or financial planner to help you prepare for you and your partner's future. You want to have a plan in place so that you can be as prepared as possible for the future ahead. Don't forget to include advance care planning in your plan. Medical decisions will have to be made at some point along your partner's care journey.
Caregiving can be challenging, but with some practical strategies and support, it can be more manageable. Remember to prioritize your own well-being and seek help when needed, as this can help you be a better caregiver and provide the best possible care for both yourself and your partner living with dementia.