A Guide for Caregiver’s of Patients with Dementia

Caregiver Strategies for Coping with Stress

caregiver guideDementia is a degenerative neurological condition which results in loss of cognitive abilities such as memory and attention. Caring about someone with dementia, especially your own loved or close relative can be extremely stressful.
Watching your loved one’s memory deteriorate without any hope of improvement can be disturbing and tormenting. This is the reason why the caregiver of a dementia patient is 80% more likely to experience severe stress as compared to any other caregiver.

Is It Okay To Be Stressed?

In addition to the above mentioned fact, studies have indicated that caregivers of dementia patients are 50% more likely than their peers to go through depression. They have a 63% higher mortality risk than their peers.  Also, they are more likely to have less effective immune systems, resulting in more illness, fatigue, and a lower stress threshold.

Since the initial signs of dementia are subtle, inconsistent and episodic, the problem often remains undiagnosed before it turns worse. This is the reason why support systems and family members usually go through a phase of struggle and conflict before an official diagnosis is finally made. This is usually the period when caregivers and supporting members start experiencing stress and frustration due to negative interaction that taints the relationship as the condition progresses.

Even after the diagnosis, a person suffering from dementia is usually unable to understand why they are not able to live their life without any help and interference. They generally refuse to accept or appreciate any help from anyone and can make the situation even worse for caregivers.  So, while it is possible and natural to be stressed, it is not okay. Stress can only make the situation worse for any caregiver and that is why they must learn to cope with it in an effective manner.

Why Is It Important for the Caregiver to Cope With Stress?

In some cases, for those who are unable to effectively cope with the stress, the caregiver’s physical and emotional health could deteriorate and result in their being unable to continue giving care before the person with dementia passes away. Even worse is the fact that caregivers also experience a significant worsening of feelings or distress and guilt, depression, burden, and illness after placing the person in an institution.

Therefore, it is extremely important for caregivers to learn strategies and skills that can help them cope with the stress. It is only then they would able to offer proper care and support to the patient without compromising their own mental and physical well-being.

Caregiver Stress Taming Strategies

The burden and stress of care giving is much more than the physical demands of the job. With proper training, caregivers can learn proper skills and strategies required in this aspect. The purpose of this training is to provide the caregiver with some basic information about dementia and common symptoms, the progression of the condition and how to provide support and help.

Other than that, proper dementia caregiver training also involves mental and physical stress training activities. With these activities, you won’t only be able to relieve stress but also think clearly.

Contact Palm Beach Neurological to make an appointment for screening or treatment if you are the caregiver of someone who is experiencing memory loss or if they’ve been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.

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