The Ten B's of Caregiving
There is new scientific evidence to support that living a brain-healthy lifestyle today can help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias tomorrow.
Okay, we had to whip out the thesaurus to find a word that starts with a B and means “Support,” but that just goes to show that even we need support. Join a support group for caregivers or call an Alzheimer’s-specific helpline. Learn techniques and coping skills. Vent to people who know what you are going through. The point is, though you may sometimes feel alone, we are all in this together!
Some people like blueberries for their delicious flavor, others like them because they’re scientifically proven to aid in brain health. Whatever your reason, eating more brain-healthy food like blueberries is an important step toward your building a more Alzheimer’s-resistant brain. Yes, even caregivers have to care for their brains too! Foods like blueberries — raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries — are packed with antioxidants that provide a real benefit in improving memory and cognitive function.
Bickering (Don't Do It)
When you argue with a loved one, nobody really wins. Instead, decrease tension by seeing things from their side, acknowledge what they’re saying, and go with the flow. Instead, change the subject to something you can agree on, like how delicious blueberries are.
Break out of your rut by finding new activities you can do with your loved ones: listening to their favorite music, looking at picture books, going through old photos and home movies. It’ll keep you both more engaged and happy.
It’s easy to leave a TV or talk radio on in the background, but the extra stimulation can create chaos and confusion, as does constantly being distracted by the bloops and buzzes from your phone. Instead, try to enjoy the calm, listen to the natural sounds around you and stay focused on the present.
You got us, this one doesn’t technically start with a “B” but it’s too important to leave out. Create a schedule for your loved one, and involve them in daily tasks like setting the table or washing delicious blueberries. And when it comes to giving them choices – like what outfit to wear – try to limit their options to just two.
Get educated about Alzheimer’s and its effects. Understanding changes to behavior will help you prepare to manage your loved one’s care and respond to their needs.
We don’t have to tell you that there will be moments of tension and frustration – but simple stress reduction techniques – like breathing and short guided meditations – really work. A sense of calm will benefit you and your loved one.
Find your bliss – and smile or, better yet, laugh! Laughing doesn’t just feel good – it has real health benefits like relaxing muscles and improving your immune system.
You deserve a break – literally and figuratively. You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself, so go for a walk, watch a movie, go blueberry picking. You are doing tough work – so be forgiving and patient with yourself.