If you’re a care partner to one of the approximately 50 million people living with dementia, it’s crucial to practice self-care to avoid physical and emotional burnout. Most care partners are highly empathetic and selfless individuals, which is important when caring for someone with dementia. However, these altruistic traits also make it more likely for care partners to push themselves too far and ignore their own well-being. For those caring for a loved one with Lewy Body disease or another type of dementia, consider the self-care tips we share here to ensure that you stay as happy and healthy as possible:
Why You Should Prioritize Your Own Health
For many care partners, caring for another and assisting him or her with activities of daily life is a full-time job. When you’re caught up in the myriad of responsibilities related to caregiving, you may be more likely to become depressed or chronically ill. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, spouses who are the primary care partner are at 63% higher risk of death than individuals of the same age who are not caregivers. Even if you’re not the spouse of the individual you’re caring for, self-care is still a vital aspect of life and may help you lessen the risk of depression, anxiety, or other serious health problems.
How to Avoid Taking On Too Much Responsibility
When you’re invested in your work of caregiving, you may have personal barriers that prevent you from taking a break. These barriers may include feeling selfish for addressing your own needs, feeling guilty about asking for help, or taking on the sole responsibility of caring for your loved one. These patterns of thought can be hard to change, so consider reaching out to a therapist or support group for encouragement.
Many care partners are hesitant to reach out for backup on days when they’re feeling ill or simply need a day of self-care. If you’re worried about the quality of care that someone else will provide, it may be helpful to remind yourself that although they may do things differently than you, your loved one will be safe and well-cared for. When you have a chance to rest and recharge, you’ll be better able to provide excellent care going forward. To find well-qualified caregivers who can help you on an as-needed basis, consider reaching out to the Family Caregiver Alliance or a similar organization. We are also here to help you.
Dementia caregivers have an important job, and self-care for yourself is just as crucial as the care you provide for your loved one. If you’re a care partner for someone with Lewy Body disease, be sure to take time off when sick and make time to enjoy activities that bring you happiness. If you’re in need of support or assistance in finding additional care, our team is here to help. You can contact us via our helpline seven days per week at 833-LBDLINE or send us an email at any time.