Being a care partner for your loved one with dementia can be stressful at times and can sometimes change the relationship you had prior to diagnosis. Today is International Self Care day, and we are sharing ways to take care of yourself as a care partner.
1. Recognize care partner burnout
Feeling burnt out? If you're feeling tired, stressed, and drained, recognize these signs and take action. Just because you're a care partner does not mean you can not prioritize your own health. Recognize how you feel before it takes a greater toll on yourself. Make a plan on how you can move forward and incorporate self-care practices into your routine to take care of yourself.
2. Seek support
Being a care partner does not mean you have to be alone on this journey. Seek out support from family members, friends, support groups, professionals, or online forums. Talking about your feelings can help reduce feelings of burden and stress and you can find more resources to better support you and your loved one on the dementia journey.
3. Take a break
As previously mentioned on our blog, adult day programs are a great way for care partners to take a break while their loved one is engaging in social activities. You can also seek out respite programs in your community and enroll your loved one in a respite stay if you are looking for a longer break. Have an open conversation with your loved one with dementia and make this a positive experience for them. They will understand and might also enjoy a break to feel refreshed and well rested.
4. Spend time doing your favourite activity
Have you been putting off a favourite hobby or social activity? Take time and spend time doing what you love! This will help boost your spirit and relieve your stresses.
5. Spend time engaging in an activity together
Take time to breakaway from the care partner relationship, and engage in a fun activity with your loved one with dementia! It does not have to be big, but something you both loved doing. Doing so will bring you closer and enjoying time together will put both of you in a better mood. Laughter is the best medicine.
6. Incorporate self-caring practices into your daily routine
Life gets busy, especially as a care partner, taking at least 10 minutes a day to an activity geared towards self-care can boost your mood each day. Make this part of your daily routine and this will help to lessen those feelings of care partner burnout. Some activities you can easily incorporate are: writing down three things a day that you're grateful for, meditation, engaging in a hobby, yoga or exercise. Remind yourself daily that you are doing your best and are helping your loved one along their dementia journey.
How do you practice self-care? Share with us in the comments below!