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My family and I have to care for a family member with dementia. How can we keep ourselves healthy?

20 Answers
Last Updated: 03/12/2018 at 11:56pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
Moderated by

Paola Giordani, Psychoanalyst

Licensed Psychoanalyst

I have helped and am helping people cope with loss, divorce, anguish and parenting. Depression is also a major issue that comes up.

Top Rated Answers
September 26th, 2014 7:28pm
Some of the most common feelings families and caregivers experience are guilt, grief and loss, and anger. Rest assured that you are not alone if you find yourself feeling these, too. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Sit down with the members of your family and ask what they are willing to do to help. Give them ideas and suggestions. Don'€™t assume that they know what you need. Also, recognize that you are dealing with a stressful situation. It won't be easy, but be sure to give yourself props for all you do and for being brave enough to take in this responsibility. Caregiving isn'€™t easy, and it€'s important to make sure your aging family member does not take up all your energy. Make sure you find ways to pull together as a family and work together for everyone'€™s benefit.
November 3rd, 2014 3:15pm
Primary care giver burnout is very common, especially among family members. To keep a healthy mind you need to take breaks. Share the load with the whole family instead of being the sole care giver. Take breaks when you get the chance and relax. Remember, being burnt out isn't only bad for your mental health, but will also reduce the quality of care for the family member with dementia.
December 22nd, 2014 2:29pm
Many times, attitudes form personal barriers that stand in the way of caring for yourself. Not taking care of yourself may be a lifelong pattern because taking care of others is an easier option. However, as a family caregiver you must ask yourself, "What good will I be to the person I care for if I become ill? If I die?" So care about yourself and your well-being first before looking after a sick person.
December 28th, 2014 3:09pm
Remember to take some time out to have for yourselves, do things that you enjoy be it just reading a book.
May 22nd, 2015 5:14pm
It is important that you all share responsibility, and that each family member takes some time to be removed from the situation. It is difficult to help any ailling family member, but you can't help them if you don't take care of yourself. Make sure everyone gets time away from stress and continues to participate in activities they enjoy. Rely on each other, and never be afraid to ask for help.
November 5th, 2014 1:04am
Dealing with a family member who has dementia must be difficult! Please do your best to take care of yourself and show yourself love and compassion while still providing care to your family member. There are forums and various resources online that can help you connect with other people dealing with the same thing. Good luck friend!
November 14th, 2014 2:18pm
By not doing some of the things that person have done. chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning.
December 3rd, 2014 8:11pm
Try and learn as much about the disease as you can because that is exactly what it is is a disease and take time out for you. Because not taking time for your self can affect you especially when it comes to dealing with a loved one with dementia
December 8th, 2014 3:54am
Join a dementia support group so you can share your struggles with others who understand. Consult with professionals about how to manage challenging behaviors. Be kind to each other.
December 18th, 2014 8:05pm
To keep yourself healthy while taking care of a family member with dementia, you are going to need to accept to get some help and eventually make some free time for yourself here and there. This time will be considered recuperation time. Try not to do anything else that is heavy or "urgent" during this time. Do something fun or relaxing just for yourself.
December 31st, 2014 1:52am
Realize their situation can't be different. Include yourself in their fantasies without letting go of reality.
January 7th, 2015 3:41pm
Get plenty of rest when you care for someone like this. Resting is important because caring for someone with such an illness can really wear you out.
January 9th, 2015 12:06am
I also have a family member with dementia. Some areas may have support groups tailored specifically for the family members taking care of these individuals. It's worth looking into; I understand the stress of the responsibility.
April 3rd, 2015 9:27pm
Supporting each other during this time can help keep yourself in check, and keep your wellbeing in good standing.
August 25th, 2015 10:37am
I have had a similar experience, and in my case, taking care of the family member, and being there for them is very important, but can be hurtful to watch and handle for the whole family. Remember to keep visiting and do not give up on this family member, but do not spend every waking minute with them, nor worrying about them. Maybe the best thing would be a nursing home for them, and you could visit, knowing that they are being well taken care of when you are not there. I hope this helps.
March 22nd, 2016 1:51am
Firstly big up to your family for taking the responsibility to do so. People who have dementia are often hard to handle and takes time and patience to take care of them. But always remember if you and your family can share the care giving. For example if someone is willing to take care of her/him for even a few hours will be good. You and your family can treat yourselves to a little me time.
June 13th, 2016 10:43pm
Make sure you dont let taking care of the person consume you make sure you still go out and get air and detach yourself from ti all ocne in a while.
September 12th, 2016 7:36pm
Eat healthy and exercise. There's many ways to get physically fit without the use of weights or even going to the gym. You can use calisthenics (body weight), or even dance to get fit. There are many psychological exercises you can do as well to keep your mind sharp. For some people music helps a lot, some participating in artwork, etc: etc: You'd have to find out what works for you.
December 5th, 2017 5:48pm
It is very important that you all share responsibility. Always make sure you are also giving your self enough time to care for you. Enjoy doing whatever you like doing.
March 12th, 2018 11:56pm
Show love and support with each other. I understand how you are feeling and it is a sad time; having family around you to support you is the best coping mechanism