According to “Home Instead Senior Care” the number of caregivers who provide full time care to a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is astonishing. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that nearly 17.9 billion hours of unpaid care was provided by friends and family members to those with AD in 2014. Of those who give of their time, nearly 72 percent provide care without any outside help what so ever, and a large percentage of caregivers voiced the desire for more help with the daily tasks of caring for a loved one with AD.
If you are a caregiver, you may wonder how you can enlist more help from others to provide some respite care for the many hours of giving you devote every week to your loved one. Although asking for help may be difficult-particularly for caregivers (who may be accustomed to giving), there are some proven strategies that are reported to have worked for other caregivers that may work for you as well.
1.Don’t feel guilty for asking for help. See it as an opportunity for others to experience the gratification of selflessly giving in the same way it has positively impacted your life.
2.Be aware that caregiving can lead to many stress related physical and emotional disorders (such as depression or even heart disease) when there is no time allocated for self-care.
3.Start asking for help in small time increments (such as an hour or two) and build up to enlisting the help of friends and family for an entire day, weekend and then perhaps even a whole week.
4.If most of your relatives live out of town, ask them to take the responsibility to call and check in on a regular basis and then perhaps plan a visit at least once a year to help out. This could be the time you plan to take a yearly vacation, or just enjoy some extended down time to do some things you enjoy.
5.Break up tasks into categories and ask each family member or friend to handle one aspect of care. For example, grocery shopping and meals could be the responsibility of one family member and doctor visits and the medication regime could be handled by another individual.
6.Let go of trying to micromanage things and let other family members be involved in some of the decision making and delegation of tasks.
7.Keep the lines of communication open and let others know about your needs on a regular basis. Many caregivers develop resentments because they feel they have to do everything. These negative feelings can interfere with the ability to maintain positive relationships with others making it more difficult to ask for help.
8.Join a caregiver support group (check out The Alzheimer’s Association website for resources) or consider consulting with a mental health professional if you have unresolved resentments and/or a high level of stress regarding the amount of time you spend caring for your loved one with AD.
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