August 3, 2022

Memory Loss: How to Care for Your Loved Ones and Yourself

Do you have a loved one that suffers from memory loss? If so, you know that memory loss from an accident, dementia, or Alzheimer's can seriously disrupt the whole family's life. If you are caring for a loved one with memory loss, take comfort in knowing that it is possible to take care of the one you love while still caring for yourself. The following are a few ways you can take care of yourself while still providing love and comfort to your loved one with memory loss.

Join a Caregiver Support Group

One of the best ways to care for yourself while caring for a loved one with memory loss is to join a caregiver support group. There, you will find other people who are going through the same thing as you and can offer advice, understanding, and support. These groups can be found online or through your local community center or hospital.

At Summerfield of Hammond, an Alzheimer's Support Group meets monthly. The group helps you cope with the challenges that arise when caring for your loved one. We have the expertise to guide you through this challenging journey because we have been there. We have a dedicated Memory Care wing with well-trained staff who understand the daily emotions, hazards, and confusion you face when caring for someone with memory loss.

Take a Break

It is essential to care for yourself both physically and emotionally. One way to do this is by taking a break from your care giving duties. If possible, take an afternoon off each week to do something you enjoy, such as spending time on a hobby or seeing a movie. If you can't take an afternoon off, take a few moments when your loved one is resting to take a long bath or read a book in the garden. You can't care for another person if you are sick or exhausted, so make sure to schedule some time to give your mind and body a quick reset.

Get Some Exercise

Exercise is not only good for your physical health but can also help reduce stress and improve your mood. There are many ways for you to get some exercise with your loved one, providing an opportunity for time together that is beneficial and fun. Some examples we like are:

  1. Dance together - put on their favorite music from the "old days" and  shake out some of your tension and stress.
  2. Take a walk - just a walk around the block can get your blood flowing and your  heart rate up. A change in scenery can also boost your mood.
  3. Gardening - exercise with a visible sign of accomplishment at the end!

Eat Healthy

When you are the caregiver for someone with memory loss, it is easy to get wrapped up in their care and run out of time to eat a healthy meal. Eating right and getting proper nutrition are important for both of you.Unhealthy eating can make you feel sluggish and unproductive, something you definitely don't need when you are responsible for the care of another.

Plan meals and snacks ahead of time to avoid reaching for junk because it is quick and easy. Make sure that you have some easy healthy snacks on hand when you need to satisfy your hunger quickly.

Some items you will want to stock up on include green leafy veggies, berries, nuts, beans, fish and whole grains. You will want to avoid sugar, bread, pasta, and trans-fats (go ahead and leave these at the store so they can't tempt you).

Ask for Help

Caring for a loved one with memory loss can be over whelming, and it is okay to ask for help when you need it. If you have family or friends nearby, see if they can take over caregiving duties for a few hours each week so that you can have some time to yourself.

You can also find a helping hand in retirement communities like Summerfield of Hammond with Respite Care. Respite care is temporary assistance provided by a facility so that the primary caregiver can take time away without having to worry about the safety of their loved one. It can come in handy when you need a vacation, you need to go back to work, or you simply need to run some errands. With our daily activities at Summerfield of Hammond, you can rest assured that your loved one will enjoy their time, allowing you to enjoy yours.

Spend Time with Friends

Caring for someone with memory loss makes it easy to become isolated from your friends and social activities. However, it is crucial to maintain these relationships as they can provide support, keep you grounded, and give you a much-needed escape from routine.

One way to do this is by scheduling regular get-togethers with friends. Take advantage of some Respite Care to meet for coffee, or invite your friends over to enjoy a movie night.

Combine your to-do list with socializing. Make your daily workout a group workout instead of a solo one. Plan to head to the grocery at the same time as a friend, and it will allow you to catch up, and you can help each other keep the junk food out of the cart.

Educate Yourself

Stay up to date and "in the know" about your loved one's memory loss. Memory loss can come with a lot of changes and challenges, so it is essential to educate yourself on what to expect and how you can best help your loved one.

The more you know about memory loss, the better equipped you will be to deal with the changes happening in your life and the life of your loved one. The better prepared you are, the less stressed out you will be.

At Summerfield of Hammond, we care about the health and happiness of our residents and their families. If you are caring for a loved one with memory loss, please stop in or give us a call. We would love to discuss how we can help you live a happy, healthy, and well-balanced life while caring for someone suffering from memory loss.

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