It isn’t unusual for caregiving to take a serious toll emotionally, physically and financially. The person you’re caring for is going to have good days and bad, and so will you. As you gain more experience, you’ll learn how to navigate handling someone with LBD, and how to avoid potential triggers and difficult situations. Get started by avoiding these five common pitfalls:
1. Communicating like you used to – It’s both sad and frustrating to see a person you love struggle with LBD. One of the best things you can do is a caregiver is to adjust your communication style to suit their new needs. This means always responding to questions patiently, even if they’re repetitive. Other techniques include wording things in a positive way, giving the person with LBD freedom to speak, taking turns while speaking and validate their emotions, even if you know their concerns are unfounded.
2. Enforcing a strict schedule – This one is tricky because having a daily schedule is important for both you and the person you’re caring for, but don’t break a sweat trying to stick to it! Make sure your schedule allows plenty of time for dressing, bathing and meal times, and try to fit in a fun activity every now and then, such as music therapy or yoga. Just remember, people with LBD have good days and bad. It’s not a big deal if you don’t accomplish everything you had planned for the day.
3. Not educating yourself about LBD – It’s important that new caregivers know and understand the top LBD symptoms and how to recognize them. Visual hallucinations, sleep disorders and sensitivities to some antipsychotic drugs are prevalent in people with LBD.
4. Forgetting to take care of yourself – A lot of new caregivers don’t realize that they’re mental and physical health has to be a top priority if they want to provide the person they’re caring for with the best support possible. When your health declines, your ability to provide care will too, and everybody will suffer. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep at night, eating balanced meals and keeping up on annual exams and important medical tests.
5. Failing to ask for help – Caregiving isn’t a single-player sport! Sometimes asking for help means something as small as asking a loved one to help with meal prep or reaching out to the LBD community for support. Or, it could be a major decision, like deciding it’s time to have a professional caregiver help out. Contact us for help finding resources in your area.