When you’re caring for a senior parent with Alzheimer’s, sometimes patience is in short supply. If you are also trying to take care of your kids, work at a job outside the house, and coordinate doctor’s visits, insurance coverage, and other details for your senior parent sometimes you’re not going to handle it all with grace. That’s ok. The first thing that you need to do is get some help from a 24-hour home care provider. Give yourself a breather. Then, after you have gotten a break thanks to a 24-hour home care provider you can use these tips to keep your cool even on the hardest day of caring for your senior loved one with Alzheimer’s:
Take A Breath
Or 10 breaths. Or 20. When your senior loved one is repeating the same thing for the 10th time in 15 minutes and you think you’re going to lose it step away and take some deep breaths. When you’re feeling calm again go back and try to redirect your loved one to a new topic.
Take Them To A Different Room
Sometimes when your loved one with Alzheimer’s get fixated on a particular topic or a particular person and your normal attempts at redirection aren’t working moving them to a new room will do the trick and get their attention focused elsewhere. So take them into the kitchen for a snack, or into the living room to look at pictures, or into the bedroom to get a sweater. By physically changing the space you can change the vibe and give yourself a moment to collect yourself.
Call In Backup
If you feel like you’re about to snap or yell ask the 24-hour home care provider to step in with an activity or a new topic or conversation. If you’re alone with your senior loved one you can call a sibling or a relative and let your senior loved one talk to them while you calm down.
Take A Break
Make sure that you are taking time to exercise each day. Exercising will help you get rid of stress and tension and the physical movement will release endorphins that will make you feel better. If you are not able to handle something make sure that there is a home care provider there to take care of your senior parent and go for a walk. Getting out of the house and getting your body in motion will make it much easier to relax and be patient again.
You’re only human, and you’re taking on a big task by being a caregiver. Accept that you’re going to make mistakes and forgive yourself for those mistakes. Sometimes you will yell, or be less patient than you want to be. That’s ok. Forgive yourself and let it go. Start over and try again. Remember that your senior loved one isn’t doing this to be difficult. They are trapped in a scary, disorienting, and unfamiliar world and they’re trying to get by the best they can. Just being there for them you are helping so don’t worry if you’re not perfect 100% of the time.