As a caregiver, you may find yourself with so many responsibilities that you neglect taking good care of yourself. But the best thing you can do for the person you are caring for is stay physically and emotionally strong. Here’s how:
See the doctor
If you are caring for someone in the late-stages of Alzheimer’s, talk to your health care provider about the seasonal flu shot. Being vaccinated protects both you and the person you are caring for.
Use these tips:
- Take friends and family members up on their offers to help.
You can get in a good workout in a short amount of time — even a 30 minute break. Use our Care Team Calendar to help coordinate a schedule where you have breaks to exercise and take care of your health.
- Start small.
While it is recommended that you get 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week, even 10 minutes a day can help. Fit in what you can, and work toward a goal.
Exercise at home.
When the person with dementia naps, pull out a yoga mat and stretch, set up a stationary bike, or try exercise tapes.
- Find something you love.
If you enjoy the activity, it will be easier to make it a habit.
There also are many ways you can be active with the person with dementia. Here are a few ideas:
- Take a walk together outside to enjoy the fresh air
- Go to the mall and take a stroll indoors
- Do seated exercises at home
- Dance together to favorite music
- Garden or do other routine activities that you both enjoy
Need ideas on how to go healthy?
Try these resources:
- Nutrition: Tips for Improving Your Health (American Academy of Family Physicians)
- Eat Right Nutrition Tips (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- Healthy Breakfast: Quick, Flexible Options to Grab at Home (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
Five tips to help you cope
- Manage your level of stress.
Consider how stress affects your body (stomach aches, high blood pressure) — and your emotions (overeating, irritability). Find ways to relax.
- Be realistic.
The care you give does make a difference, but many behaviors can’t be controlled. Grieve the losses, focus on positive times as they arise, and enjoy good memories.
- Give yourself credit, not guilt.
It’s normal to lose patience or feel like your care may fall short sometimes. You’re doing the best you can. For support and encouragement, join ALZConnected, our online caregiver community.
- Take a break.
It’s normal to need a break from caregiving duties. No one can do it all by themselves. Look into respite care to allow time to take care of yourself.
- Accept changes.
Eventually your loved one will need more intensive kinds of care. Research care options now so you are ready for the changes as they occur.