Care partners of those with Lewy Body Dementia take on an extremely important and taxing role when they begin caring for a loved one with this disease. These family members, friends, and neighbors are providing an invaluable and selfless service that may give those with LBD a better quality of life. However, throughout the course of this journey, care partners are forced to set aside their personal and individual needs to put the needs of the person with LBD first.
The care partner’s mental and physical health takes a direct hit. For that reason, it is vital that caregivers acknowledge the importance of their own needs, in addition to the needs of their loved one. Here are some ways in which care partners can receive the help they need.
An On-Call Network
Lewy Body Dementia doesn’t follow a set schedule when presenting symptoms and impacting the life of the person afflicted with the disease or their caregiver. While the patient’s doctor is a helpful resource, the care partner needs more varied and versatile help. Consider reaching out to neighbors and friends to ask for assistance once a week with meal prep, lawn care, laundry, or other errands. Having these small burdens occasionally lifted can remove a ton of stress from the caregiver’s life.
Additionally, try to develop a network that has knowledge about LBD, its symptoms, and innovative caregiving tactics. Reach out to others who have experience in caring for someone with Lewy Body Dementia to learn how they have dealt with physical and mental manifestations of the disease. Our Lewy Body Dementia Resource Center offers a helpline seven days a week, 12 hours a day, and we encourage care partners to call with any and all questions.
Take Time for Self-Care
Care partners must carve out time for themselves in order to participate in their favorite method of self-care — be it lunch with a friend, getting a haircut, going to the gym, or scheduling a massage. Involve other members of the family or personal network, or reach out to a local volunteer organization that provides caregiver support in a number of ways. They may be able to pair you with an experienced volunteer who can sit with your loved one while you take a few hours of personal time.
LBD Specific Support Groups
Many care partners for loved ones with LBD find that attending Lewy Body Dementia specific support groups are more helpful than typical dementia or other caregiving-related gatherings. LBD presents specific symptoms that run the gamut of physical and mental manifestations, sometimes differing from other dementias. Caregivers can learn more about Lewy Body Dementia support groups here.
If you know a care partner of someone with Lewy Body Dementia, offering your support is a kind act of service that can immediately better the life of both the care partner and the person with LBD. Consider offering to prepare dinner once a week, taking children to school, or dropping off dry cleaning. Life doesn’t stop for care partners of those with LBD, and fitting in daily chores while offering quality care to a loved one with LBD can be incredibly taxing.
If you’re a caregiver of someone with LBD, it’s crucial to take time for yourself in order to remain mentally and physically healthy and able to provide valuable care for your loved one. For all of your Lewy Body Dementia resource needs, contact us today.