Managing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Stress

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is a 24/7 job. It’s also both physically and emotionally demanding. So it’s no wonder that Alzheimer’s caregivers frequently find themselves stressed. And many caregivers end up neglecting their own health by not getting enough sleep, proper nutrition, exercise, and down time. Here are some things you can do to manage Alzheimer’s caregiver stress:

Tap into community resources. Kansas City has lots of Alzheimer’s resources, including educational materials, health care providers, support groups, and more.

Delegate tasks. Sometimes people want to help, but don’t know how. Write down anything you can think of that you need help with (e.g., running errands, cooking, cleaning, providing respite). Then ask people who have offered to help to take on specific tasks.

Stay active. Exercise can reduce stress, improve mood, and give you more energy. If you can’t seem to carve out 30 minutes a day for exercise, try breaking it up into 10-minute increments.

Eat right. Eating a balanced diet with lots of fruits, and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy can increase your energy level; it can also prevent diet-related illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

Use relaxation techniques. Relaxation techniques can slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, help you sleep better, and reduce fatigue. Some examples include deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and/or visualization. Music therapy may also benefit not only you, but also your loved one with Alzheimer’s.

Take a break. You need some time to yourself to relax and rejuvenate. Ask a close friend or family member to take over caregiving every so often so you can get away for an afternoon, or even just for a few hours. If you don’t have anyone nearby who can help, enlist the assistance of a Kansas City home health agency that specializes in Alzheimer’s and dementia care and provides respite services.