Caring for an older adult can be a very rewarding experience, but it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by all the responsibility. “Caregiver burnout” is a term used to describe this feeling of overwhelming stress. It refers to a state of emotional and physical exhaustion that can cause a change in a caregiver’s attitude from positive and compassionate, to negative and indifferent. In order to prevent this, it is important for caregivers to make time for their own needs. Eat healthy and get enough sleep to keep yourself energized. Most importantly, do not be afraid to ask for help with caregiving.
Caregiving Tips for Older Adults with Dementia
A dementia diagnosis can understandably come as a shock, and result in a great deal of stress - both for the patient, and for the people who care about them. The Alzheimer Society of Canada has a wide collection of resources to help you support the older adult under your care. Some of their recommendations for interacting with dementia patients include:
- Setting a routine. “Activities such as dressing, grooming, bathing, and eating can form a pattern in daily living. Routines help the person with dementia know what to expect, and help them continue to do things on their own.”
- Being patient when communicating. “Use gestures as well as words. Pace the conversation, allowing time for them to respond.”
- Adapting meaningful tasks to the person’s ability. “A person who enjoyed wood-working may no longer be able to use power tools but may still be able to nail, sand and paint in the workroom.”
Caring for another person can at times come with a significant financial cost, particularly if that person is older or requires specialized care. For this reason, the Government of Ontario offers a number of programs to help caregivers financially. Ontario Works is a program that helps people in the province find a job and meet basic living expenses. The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) specifically helps people with disabilities by assisting them with basic living expenses. You may also qualify for a disability tax credit (DTC) which reduces the amount of income tax a person with a disability, or their caregiver, might pay.
Please contact us for more information on caring for older adults, help relieving caregiver stress, and for techniques you can use to better care for a person with dementia.
Some of our services include:
- Care Management Programs for immediate assistance with critical health and wellness concerns
- Recreation Games, activities, events, and outings to keep older adults happy and engaged members of the community
- Health Promotion ProgramEducational sessions and workshops to inform caregivers and enable older adults to take control of their health.