Caring for someone with dementia has been described as living a “36-hour day.” As a caregiver, you are constantly balancing the needs of the care recipient with your own. Becoming a family caregiver takes a toll, and over time, it can slowly wear away at your patience, stamina, and compassion. Engaging with an experience professional geriatric care manager can help families stay proactive with dementia care and avoid burnout. Here’s how:
Create a plan for dementia care
Creating a plan for dementia care involves understanding the whole person. It often starts with a good medical workup and could include others assessments depending on the situation. A geriatric care manager will then create a customized Plan of Care that balances safety, quality of life, risk reduction, and support for all involved parties.
Acknowledge the effects of dementia
Dementia causes many disruptions in life and it can change the personality and behavior of your loved one. Caregiving responsibilities can make working difficult and hamper your ability to maintain a steady schedule. A geriatric care manager understands these issues and can provide practical recommendations that help families:
- Understand the behaviors caused by dementia and develop coping strategies.
- Facilitate discussions that guide the family through difficult times and help resolve the conflict.
- Avoid the triggers that cause outbursts and behavior changes on the part of the loved one with dementia.
- Delegate tasks such as arranging for transportation to and from appointments, facilitating communication between the doctor and family members, and supervising care.
Anticipate the demands and pressures of dementia care
Who will care for the caregiver? Caring for oneself is at the bottom of the list for most caregivers. The demands of caregiving along with the demands of work and personal life can make self-care nearly impossible. Partnering with others, friends, family, and professionals can help you handle caregiving responsibilities. Without self-care, caregivers risk suffering from burnout and compassion fatigue which can seriously impact their ability to act as a caregiver.
If you are the caregiver of someone with dementia, give yourself the benefit of a geriatric care manager. You will have a partner in the care of your loved one and the support of an expert who can navigate complex senior dementia care for you.
Keep reading: Three tools that can help caregivers manage dementia »