Blog Entries Lillian Reda, Dir. of Clinical Practice and Education
Memory Support and the Caregiver
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. With the beautiful summer months upon us, we can…..
No doubt you know that exercise is an important part of staying healthy — it can help relieve stress, prevent disease and make you feel good. But finding the time to exercise is another story.
Here are some 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. Help coordinate a schedule where you have breaks to exercise and take care of your health.
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
Know you're doing your best. Remember that the care you provide makes a difference and that you are doing the best you can. You may feel guilty because you can’t do more, but individual care needs change as Alzheimer’s progresses. You can’t promise how care will be delivered, but you can make sure that the person with the disease is well cared for and safe.
We need to be realistic. The care you give does make a difference, but many behaviors that arise can't be controlled. Grieve the losses, focus on positive times as they arise, and enjoy good memories.
Take time out to watch the sunset. “Oh right, that will be really helpful?!” The truth is, many of the most powerful things you can do to improve your life are also very simple – and free.
When you learn to take the time out to observe nature’s beauty- sunset, sunrise, falling rain or snow, beautiful flowers, plants, trees on a regular basis, you are training yourself to slow down ever so slightly and appreciate life, beginning with the beauty around you. Like everything else, the more you do something, the better you become at it. If you keep it up, pretty soon you’ll start noticing other aspects of life that are pretty special too. When your life is filled with gratitude, everything looks less difficult and threatening. You spend less time irritated or wishing things were different and more time enjoying yourself and your day-to-day life. The result is that, over time, rather than taking life quite as much for granted, you’ll re-experience the magic of life. But that’s not the only reason to take time out “every day” to watch the sunset.
As you take time out to observe and appreciate the beauty in life, not only will you feel happier and more nourished, but others around you will be influenced by your attitude as well. By way of example, it’s as if you give permission to others to do the same thing!
Just be dementia friendly.
When dealing with a loved one with dementia, remember the person, not the disease.
When dealing with a challenging behavior, remember it’s the disease not the person.