Take time for YOU! Even just a few minutes can make a difference and help you recharge. Breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth for 5-10 minutes is a great way to meditate. This lowers your stress, which may help you be a better caregiver.
Stick to a routine. Put it on a calendar and try not to budge on it. Routines help you feel in control and can let your loved one know what to expect. Consistency is especially important for people with dementia, because it provides a sense of security.
Ask for help. Even a few hours "off duty" can help you recharge. Think of family, friends, or neighbors to call when you need a break. Insurance might pay for other care resources. Our Sales and Outreach Directors have many resources to help you navigate resources and options, even if you would like to keep your loved one at home.
Sleep is vital. Take naps if needed during the day. Drink less caffeine, more water. Do meditation exercises before bed and keep electronics away while trying to get sleep.
Join a Support Group. (Aurora has a great one!) No one understands your situation better than another caregiver. Or consider joining an online community, where you can connect with others, ask questions, vent when you need to, and share ideas. Click here to see dates/times for our monthly Caregiver Support Group.
Know what your limits are. List out everything that you need to do, including all of the things you do for your loved one, rides, cooking, and household chores. Sort out which ones someone else might be able to do. Remember to say no when you need to, and set boundaries so you can stay ready to help.
Utilize technology as a resource. Technology can be a caregiver's best friend. Buy pillboxes that sound an alarm when it's time for the next dose, or try a smartphone app. Google home is another great device that can help manage your day and help with tasks when your hands are full. *** Ask us about iN2L at Aurora on France.
Get an emergency alert device, such as Fairview Lifeline. Consider an electronic "help" button for when you can't be there. It's called a personal emergency response system (PERS), and your loved one wears it like a pin or a necklace. Most connect to the phone system. Some will notify a family member or call 911, depending on your preference. You’ll pay a monthly fee for the service.
Reminisce. Get out of your head for a minute and take time to enjoy the little things about who your loved one is. Music and art can spark fun shared moments for you and the person you're caring for. Familiar melodies can bring back memories and may lead to clapping or dancing. Keep art projects simple and safe but not too childlike. Painting or making a collage from magazines are two good options. Listening to music or working on an art project can be a great stress reliever for you, too. Celebrate the little things.
Find an Adult Day Program for your loved one to take part in. The benefits of Adult Day Programs are endless; they are often referred to as the Hidden Treasure of Senior Care. Click here to learn more and find a location nearest to you.
Aurora Senior Living is managed by Ebenezer, Minnesota’s largest senior living operator. Ebenezer is the senior housing division of Fairview Health Services and has 100 years of experience serving older adults.