Look after yourself

You need a healthy mindset to balance care for yourself in order to properly care for your loved one

Guard your health

Because caregiving for someone with behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia is so demanding, the importance of self-care cannot be stressed enough.

Self-care means getting the proper amounts of:

  • Sleep
  • Exercise
  • Nutrition
  • Social interaction

The proper combination of these things will improve your strength and ability to cope in a more positive way.

Caregiving can make a person feel more:

  • Needed
  • Helpful
  • Useful

Caregiving can also be an opportunity to learn new skills as roles change. Adopting a positive attitude will help because you may face the challenge of learning new skills and taking on the responsibility of:

  • Cooking, cleaning, doing laundry.
  • Planning, scheduling, organizing.
  • Taking over the finances.
  • Looking after the household.

Find time for you

With new responsibilities and demands for your attention, it is important to find time for yourself. Whether you can steal away one minute, one day or one week, any time to be alone or doing something that makes you happy is worth taking. You need a healthy mindset to balance care for yourself in order to properly care for your loved one.

Give yourself permission to

  • Visit with friends.
  • Attend one-on-one counseling.

It’s about balance. Caregivers must make the time to look after themselves first, in order to provide proper care for others. It’s not easy, but it is doable.

Caregiver Bill of Rights

As a caregiver, you have the right to:

  • Take care of yourself.
  • Take time off.
  • Live your own life.
  • Respect yourself.

Consider Group Therapy

Attending group therapy is an excellent opportunity to talk about your situation with other people who are going through the same situation. This type of therapy can transform you and give you the power and strength you need to carry on.

Group therapy can:

  • Provide peace of mind.
  • Help you discover that you’re not alone.
  • Offer emotional support.
  • Be empowering.
  • Provide an opportunity to bond with others experiencing the same difficulties.
  • Be a way to develop new friendships.
  • Be a place to learn important techniques and strategies for coping with behavioural issues.
  • Prepare you to cope with the ongoing decline of your loved one.
  • Validate where you are with your situation.
  • Support you through a change in roles such as
    • men having to learn how to do laundry.
    • women having to look after house maintenance.

Watch this compelling caregiver series: A Caregiver’s experience with BPSD: Peter’s Story