All statistics and figures show Canada’s population is getting older, and at 25,000 new cases per year, the rise in both Alzheimer’s and dementia continues to rapidly increase. With such high numbers, ensuring the well-being of our loved ones is top priority for many families.
While Alzheimer’s and dementia are undoubtedly life changing for your loved one trying to cope with their condition, it can also be a drastic change for all those involved in making sure they are cared for.
Many times, families become the primary caregiver, but in taking such a role, if not careful, it can lead to unintended consequences.
Becoming a caregiver is to be commended. Taking on the role of providing for your loved one is no easy task, and as our population ages, the need for caregivers will continue but the key is to ensure you don’t burnout, should you be one.
If your loved one is dealing with early onset dementia for example, it’s quite possible as the caregiver you could have your own family obligations as well. Whether it’s a marriage, children, friends or work, your personal life requires much of your focus and attention, adding caregiver to that is a responsibility that takes just as much dedication.
Feeling overwhelmed, stressed or burnt out?
Pay attention to some of these warning signs:
Lack of social interaction
Not staying in touch with friends or no longer involved in activities you once enjoyed. It’s possible your time as a caregiver is consuming you to the point where there’s no interaction outside of that with your loved one.
Different emotional reactions? You react to things differently than you once did or perhaps oddly.
Waking in the middle of the night? Can’t get a good sleep? Tossing and turning?
Becoming sick more often? Weight gain or loss?
Feeling anxious or depressed
Worrying about what the next day holds if you can’t provide care? A feeling of hopelessness?
Providing care at the expense of your own mental and physical state is not going to help you or your loved one.
Keep in mind that while the care is needed and appreciated it will not stop Alzheimer’s or dementia from occurring. The added pressure from a self-imposed responsibility to care for your loved one until they become “better” should not be your goal, rather ensure they are happy and healthy.
Do not set unrealistic goals as they will lead to further stress, aggravation and even guilt.
If you feel you’re suffering from or potentially have caregiver burnout, it’s important to reach out and seek assistance.
Speak to your local Alzheimer’s association or visit our Senior Helpers Services page, call us and learn about how Senior Helpers can provide you, your family and loved one with professional and compassionate services helping to alleviate potential stress for you and your family and give you peace of mind and your loved one with compassionate care.