Caring for Caregivers

How to prevent caregiver burnout

9/4/2018, 1:54 p.m.
While caring for an older family member – whether it be a spouse, parent or grandparent – can be a ...

Ask for help when you need it. Reach out to medical and mental health professionals as well as family and friends. They can assist you when things get tough. In addition, there are typically programs, agencies and organizations in your community that can help manage the challenges of caring for older parents, grandparents, spouses and other older adults.

Advocate for and connect with your loved one. Take an active role in the individual’s medical care. Get to know the care team, ask questions, express concerns and discuss treatment options. Also remember to connect on a personal level through kindness, humor and creativity, which are essential parts of caregiving and can help reduce stress.

Think positive. Focus on the capabilities and strengths that are still intact and enjoy your relationship with your loved one while you are still together. Look for ways to include him or her in your daily routines and gatherings to make as many memories as possible.

Find more caregiver resources and tips at alzfdn.org.

Tips for Managing Caregiver Stress

Stress can affect anyone and caregivers may find themselves faced with additional stressors. To help manage stress and avoid caregiver burnout, keep these tips from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America in mind:

  • Maintain a positive attitude
  • Be flexible and accept the circumstances
  • Be honest and open about your feelings
  • Take it one day at a time
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Incorporate stress management techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing, as well as exercise into your daily routine
  • Drink plenty of water and eat a healthful diet full of fruits and vegetables
  • Set realistic goals and go slow

Getting Help with Caregiving

Everyone needs a break from time to time, even caregivers. Look into respite programs for a chance to care for yourself. Types of respite include:

Home Care

Home care is often initiated by a doctor’s order or hospital stay and administered by medical professionals who come into the home and help with personal care and housekeeping functions.

Medicare covers some home health services.

Adult Day Programs

Social-model programs offer stimulation, socialization and therapeutic activities in a community-based group setting and often include meals. Medical-model programs (adult day health care programs), offer health-based services as well as social activities in a group setting.

Some programs include assistance with activities of daily living and transportation. Adult day services charge per hour and may be covered under some long-term care insurance policies. Medicaid covers some adult day health programs.

Facility-Based Respite

Provide a short stay for your loved one in a nursing home or another facility. Facilities typically charge for each day your loved one is in their care. Medicare or Medicaid may cover some costs of an inpatient facility.

Family and Friends

Identify responsible family members and friends who can lend a hand in providing supervision for your loved one and create a rotating care schedule, if possible. Enlist the help of family members living in different states by assigning them tasks such as legal or financial paperwork.