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Living with Dementia

Caring for people with dementia Caregiver self-care

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Caregiver self-care

The way you take care of yourself as a caregiver is just as important as the care experience you provide. Caregivers can become overwhelmed and neglect their own physical, emotional, social and intellectual needs. By maintaining good care for yourself, you enable yourself to provide improved and continued care for the person living with dementia.

Manage your stress

While a certain amount of stress is natural and expected, too much stress for anyone, including a person living with dementia, is not helpful. When caregivers experience added stress, this can compromise their own health and can affect the state of mind of the person they’re caring for. There are many ways to manage your stress in a positive manner, including:
  • Respite - an important component of successful caregiving. The first step is to let others know that you need a break. A break can be going to the grocery store on your own without worry or planning a weekend away to recharge.
  • Exploring Adult Day Programs like Club 36, provided by the Alzheimer Society of Calgary
  • Spending quality time with family and friends
  • Making sure to get enough sleep
  • Listening to your favourite music
  • Taking a walk or spending time outdoors
  • Taking part in a new activity that challenges your mind or your body
  • Speaking to your family physician
  • Joining a support group
  • Scheduling a massage, a bubble bath or quiet reading time
  • Connecting to long-distance family and friends to enjoy some free face time when travel isn’t possible - try Skype

Other resources

Alberta Health Services Family Caregiver Centre
This program allows you to connect with other people living with dementia and their family members. It usually involves coffee meetings or other engaging activities.
Contact Charlene at 403-955-1674
 
Alberta Health Services Home Care
Home Care is available to discuss your needs. They will visit, assess and discuss the in-home care options that available to you.
Contact (403) 943-1920
 
Calgary Seniors' Resource Society
This organization provides free friendly visiting programs, telephone reassurance and escorted transportation.
Call (403) 266-6200

Private organizations

Private companies or care attendants can be hired from health care agencies. These professionals can be hired for a specific day and time period. Note that it is important to ask questions of the agency and the individual coming into the home, such as… What are their credentials? Are they bonded? Have they had any dementia-specific training? What activities will they plan for your loved one? Do they provide personal care if needed?
 
Remember, caring for yourself is not selfish - it's the greatest gift you can give your loved one.

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