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Help with Reducing Stress for Dementia Caregivers

Living with an individual suffering from dementia as the primary caregiver is extremely stressful.  So much so, that if we have ten dementia clients and ten primary caregivers, within the same time period that three of the dementia clients pass, seven of the primary caregivers will pass!

 

There are many techniques you can use to alleviate some of this stress on yourself.  One of the main ones is not to argue or disagree with the dementia sufferer; if they were to say, for example, the sky has turned a lovely shade of green:  Your response should be, “yes, it’s a lovely shade of green, isn’t it” (it’s really blue–but it doesn’t matter materially).  So long as there is no harm done to you or them, this would be a proper response.  To correct them would only confuse and embarrass them, and it wouldn’t provide you any benefits either.

 

Other tools to use would be to distract and deflect.  Draw their attention away from what’s frustrating them and turn their attention to something else that will calm them down and cause you less stress.  Deflect them in another direction.  For example:  they like to use a particular knife to spread their specific condiment on their bread for making a sandwich, and cannot find it.  Don’t let them keep looking and therefore increasing their frustration level and yours.  Distract them to another task while you spread their mustard with a regular knife.  Viola, less stress on you and all tasks accomplished.

 

You must remind yourself that if something were to happen to you, where would they be?  Taking care of yourself as the primary caregiver is essential in caring for a dementia sufferer.  The more advanced the stage of dementia, the more respite time you need to have.  Have a family member or close friend stay with them in your place. Get away for several hours and recharge your batteries. If you don’t have access to family or don’t want to impose, then enlist the help of a professional caregiving service, be it ours or another.  The most important issue here is to preserve your health and lessen the stress level on you as the primary caregiver for a dementia sufferer.

Posted in: Dementia, Seniors

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