A young woman handing a cup of tea to a senior woman.

Self-Care for Dementia Caregivers: 10 Tips to Prevent Burnout

Caring for someone with dementia can be incredibly challenging. Whether you’re a medical professional or an informal caretaker for a loved one, this work is often difficult.

Studies have demonstrated that all types of caregivers can experience burnout syndrome. This syndrome includes negative mental and physical effects on the caregiver. However, it can also negatively impact the person experiencing dementia.

If you’re wondering how to stay sane while caring for someone with dementia, you are not alone. Many caregivers struggle to maintain a demanding schedule of care for another while balancing their own self care needs. We have 10 self care tips for caregivers of dementia patients. Your self care and mental health matter too.

10 Ways to Prevent Dementia Caregiver Burnout

Dementia is an especially difficult disease to deal with. This is because it is progressive and impacts all facets of someone’s life. We have a few important self care suggestions for anyone who is a caregiver for someone with dementia. It might feel selfish to focus on self care when someone important to you is struggling, but it’s essential to “put your own oxygen mask on first”.

  1. Go to your friends and family for support. This might sound obvious, but sometimes we have to ask for what we need. Not everyone will be able to relate, but sharing what you’re going through will help you feel less alone.
  2. Try a support group. Last year alone, an estimated 6.7 million senior Americans were living with dementia. Finding other caregivers will give you an empathetic community of support.
  3. Consider speaking to a professional therapist or counselor for help working through your feelings.
  4. Look for resources in your local community to help lift your burden.
  5. Take breaks and do things just for yourself. Whether you choose exercise, time with friends, or practicing hobbies, it’s important to remember that you’re a whole person too.
  6. Try some relaxation techniques, especially before you go to sleep at night.
  7. Have fun sometimes. Dementia is a heavy and hard thing to deal with. Remember to take time to enjoy life, too.
  8. Find ways to regulate your own emotions. Progressive brain diseases often come hand-in-hand with heightened emotions. It’s important to keep your demeanor as calm and balanced as possible.
  9. Educate yourself about dementia. Sometimes ignorance is bliss, but often, having more information can help you plan for the future. Not knowing can lead to unnecessary stress and worry.
  10. Make legal and financial plans for the future. This can be a scary task, but it’s better to have it done and taken care of. The more involved your loved one with dementia can be in planning, the better. It’s very comforting to know you’re respecting their wishes.

Dealing With Dementia: Tips for Caregivers

A young woman with her hands on her face.

We encourage you to practice all of the above self care tips as you provide care. Caregiving is hard work, but you can do it! Taking breaks, seeking support, and finding moments of calm will all make the work more doable.

When it comes to looking after those with dementia, we also have some caregiver tips for dementia specifically. The conditions under the dementia umbrella can seem counterintuitive. Patients’ thought processes don’t always make sense, but these caregiver tips for dealing with dementia are tried and true.

  1. Communicate with simple, straightforward sentences
  2. Redirect from painful topics instead of making them relive bad news, such as the loss of a relative
  3. Have grace for yourself and your loved one
  4. White lies are often easier and more kind than being blunt with the truth
  5. Don’t expect them to remember their commitments or promises
  6. Advocate for your loved one with medical professionals
  7. Ask for and accept help whenever you can
  8. Understand that the balance of independence and dependence will change daily
  9. Tell them what’s happening instead of asking if they’re ready
  10. Know that you will question their diagnosis when they have a good day

More Helpful Tips for Dementia Caregivers

Sometimes caregivers aren’t able to provide the quality of life they want for their loved ones with dementia. That’s perfectly understandable. A residential memory care community might be the right fit instead. With specialized care, a safe environment, and built-in socializing and activities, your loved one can thrive.

If you’re interested in a memory care community near you, read our story of how The Moments came to be. We’re committed to providing unparalleled memory care.

Published On: March 27, 2024