How to Lessen the Stress of Dementia Care
The World Alzheimer’s Report states that, “No two people with dementia, and no two families are alike in their needs for care and support.”
This is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when providing quality dementia care for seniors. The first step to lessening stress with dementia care is understanding this reality and approaching each client with a personalized approach.
Understanding the Stress of Family Caregivers
Oftentimes, family members have stepped into the role of family caregivers. The physical, psychological, social and financial problems that can be experienced by dementia family caregivers can be overwhelming. If you’re a caregiver working with seniors who have dementia, understanding how these family members have been affected will lessen your own stress when providing dementia care.
Family caregiving risks include:
Taking care of others can take a physical toll. Exhaustion, back pain, sleep deprivation, and an increase in chronic conditions are all risk factors for family caregivers who provide dementia care for their loved ones.
60% of family caregivers have high to very high emotional stress, and 40% suffer from depression compared to 5-15% of non-caregivers of similar ages.
Socially, family caregivers can experience increased instances of isolation. A lot of time previously spent doing social activities will have been replaced with dementia care tasks.
Financial burden can occur due to lost or reduced income, early retirement, the cost of care, and insurance. Even things like utilities can go up if family caregivers have moved their loved one with dementia into their home.
All of these risk factors will help caregivers understand how to interact with the family members of their dementia care clients. It will also help caregivers determine which areas of dementia care to prioritize, where the highest needs are for care, and how to best personalize care.
Lessening the Stress of Dementia Care
Dementia care requires patience, compassion, and quality training in order to provide high quality services that will optimize a person’s quality of life. Consistently providing that high level of care can cause stress for caregivers. Fortunately, there are ways to mitigate the stress so that all persons involved can experience an improved quality of life.
The three key components of lessening the stress of dementia care are empowering caregivers, improving the quality of life for caregivers, and improving the quality of life for dementia care clients.
Education about dementia and the nature of dementia care are key factors. Simply having the proper knowledge will empower caregivers to make the best decisions for care. Training that provides skills in coping mechanisms, problem solving, and therapeutic communication will also empower caregivers with the tools they need to provide quality dementia care.
Improving the Caregiver’s Life
The less stress caregivers experience in their daily lives, the less risk they have of caregiver burnout. When a caregiver is under too much mental or emotional duress for too long, they can develop compassion fatigue or caregiver burnout. This is common within the healthcare and caregiving fields. Making sure proper support is available for caregivers will decrease burnout and stress. Prioritizing self-care practices is of utmost importance.
Improving the Dementia Care Client’s Life
The two main areas that will improve the quality of life for seniors who have dementia are managing problematic behaviors and increasing safety. Creating a calm, safe environment will help with both of these things. Maintaining awareness about a dementia care client’s triggers also helps by enabling caregivers to decrease risk factors for problematic behaviors.
Providing Quality Dementia Care Services
When caregivers are empowered and supported, they have more time and energy to focus on improving the quality of life for their dementia care clients. This is true for family caregivers, as well. The goal is to help seniors who have dementia to maintain their independence and improve their quality of life for as long as possible, while at the same time protecting the health of caregivers.
As a reputable in-home care agency, at Alegre Home Care, we look out for both clients and caregivers, so that everyone's well-being is always cared for. Check out our home care services here or if you are interested in a career at Alegre Home Care, check out our employment opportunities.
Dementia care services from Alegre Home Care is provided by a patient and compassionate caregiving staff, who undergo specialized training to provide dementia and Alzheimer’s care in San Francisco and the surrounding areas.
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