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Caregiver Resolutions: Care for Yourself This New Year

Memory care and Alzheimer’s services can provide the professional help your loved one needs

After the stress of the holidays has calmed, and we return to our normal schedule, it can be easy to fall back into bad habits. However, the start of the new year is an excellent opportunity to set goals and recommit to our personal health. For family caregivers or those providing memory care to a loved one with dementia, finding the time for self-reflection and personal improvement is challenging.

In this week’s blogs, we will explore Three Caregiver Resolutions that can be implemented by family caregivers. But first, let’s take a look at who a caregiver is, what the job entails, and common challenges faced:

Fact 1: Emotional support makes up a big part of caregiving
While the role of family caregiver often includes tasks such as meal preparation, laundry, transportation to appointments, and medication reminders, emotional support is a significant part of the job as well. According to the Pew Research FactTank, in 2015 68% of adult family caregivers say that they sometimes support their aging parents emotionally. [Source]

Fact 2: Caring for an aging parent can become a full-time responsibility
On average, family caregivers spend 24.4 hours providing care. When providing memory care for a family member with Alzheimer’s or dementia, family caregivers on average will provide care for 1-4 years. [Source]

Fact 3: The average caregiver is middle-aged, with a career and family of their own
Of the 43.5 million unpaid, family caregivers in the U.S., the average age is 49 years old. 42% of family caregivers are providing memory care or other senior care services for a parent.

With a better understanding of who family caregivers are and the role they assume, it is easy to see some challenges they face. Providing care for a loved one is not only time-consuming but can become expensive. Travelling and time spent away from work or children can take a toll. The emotional and physical difficulties of providing memory care can become overwhelming.

If you or someone you love is a primary caregiver for a senior loved one, consider these Three Caregiver Resolutions to start the new year off right:

  1. Make your mental and physical health a priority
    Family caregivers are loving, compassionate, and often selfless people. However, always caring for others can lead to neglect of yourself. Remember that you can only help others if you are at your best. Prioritize your mental wellness by building a support system, knowing when to ask for help, or seeking a therapist to help you cope with stress. Promote physical wellness by getting enough sleep, eating a well-balanced diet and exercising regularly.
  2. Spend quality time with loved ones
    As a caregiver, especially to a parent or other family member, it can be hard to separate your caregiving responsibilities from your relationship. Spend quality time connecting with a loved one through an activity, exercise, or trip where you are a son, daughter, sister, or friend but not a caregiver. Many Alzheimer’s facilities and senior centers offer adult day programs for families to interact while professionals provide care assistance. Spending quality time takes you both out of the daily care routine and can be very beneficial [Source]
  3. Plan for future care
    If you provide memory care for an aging parent, there will come a time when you are no longer able to offer the care and support they need on your own. As Alzheimer’s or dementia symptoms advance, seniors will need more specialized care. Researching memory care homes in Wichita, KS, can help you reduce stress now and in the future. While you cannot predict what will happen, understanding the options and support resources available to you and your family will be helpful no matter what the future holds.

For more information about memory care services provided by ComfortCare Homes, please call our office at (316) 444-0532.

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