Reducing Stress at Home with Your Elderly Relatives Who Have Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease
For many families, caring for a senior loved one at home represents a compassionate act toward the senior and a rewarding experience for the caregiver. At Senior Helpers in Jacksonville, Florida, we understand that caring for an elderly person with Alzheimer's or any dementia also creates a stressful situation. Understanding cognitive decline and coping with the symptoms may help reduce stress for the senior and the caregiver.
What are Alzheimer's and Dementia?
The term dementia refers to the general condition of cognitive decline. Alzheimer's represents a specific disease that causes dementia. Though many people live long lives without experiencing severe mental issues, the frequency of Alzheimer's and dementia continues to grow in the United States, especially among individuals 65 and older.
We all experience minor cognitive incidents occasionally, such as forgetfulness or misplacing our keys. But those suffering from significant cognitive decline or dementia may display the following symptoms:
- Long and short-term memory loss
- Problems communicating
- Lack of independence
- Getting lost in a familiar area
- Poor judgment and reasoning skills
- Forgetting the names of friends and family members
Reducing Stress for the Senior Citizen
Seniors with Alzheimer's and other dementia-related conditions often suffer from anxiety and stress, making them irritable and exacerbating an already frustrating situation. You cannot expect your loved one to understand their condition or approach it logically. The best way to relieve stress for seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia involves distracting them with other activities. Some examples of healthy diversions include:
- Physical activities such as walking, swimming, and gardening
- Listening to and participating in playing and dancing to music
- Hobbies such as cooking and crafts
- Playing board and card games at home with other family members
- Light housework activities such as sweeping, wiping counters, and dusting, and vacuuming
Taking Time for Self-care
It's not surprising that home caregivers also experience significant amounts of stress. Caring for a senior loved one represents a huge responsibility, and if you add dementia to the equation, the anxiety multiplies. You may manifest your stress as anger, poor sleep, moodiness, social withdrawal, and dissatisfaction with your day-to-day life.
Home caregivers must address their physical and mental health needs to best care for a parent or other senior loved one. To tackle your battle with stress, consider these tips:
- Follow healthy eating habits.
- Exercise regularly.
- Get involved in stress-relieving practices such as yoga and meditation.
- Create a private sanctuary in your home if possible.
- Keep a journal of your thoughts and concerns.
- Join support groups and get professional help if needed.
- Take a break when you need one, such as dinner out or even a weekend away. Get a friend or family member to take over for a brief time.
We Can Help
At Senior Helpers in Jacksonville, Florida, we realize the importance of caring for your relative at home. We're here to listen and provide resources to help the elderly and those who care for them. We serve Floridian seniors and their families in Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beaches, Arlington, Ft. Caroline, San Marco, Southside, Mandarin, Fernandina Beach, Ponte Vedra, and Yulee. Don't hesitate to contact us here for more information on our in-home senior care services. Discover the difference Senior Helpers will make in your life.