Taking on the role of caregiver for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s comes with a unique set of stressors. With your full-time job, your commitment to family and community projects, your own social life – not to mention dealing with a pandemic – adding compassionate caregiving into the mix requires an incredibly difficult balancing act.

Sure, you’re happy to do it. Your loved one has supported you through so much, and you want to be there for them. But just because you love them, doesn’t mean you’re immune to the stress and anxiety of being a caregiver.

At St. John’s Community Care, we’ve developed a program that empowers you with stress management strategies to help you deal with the difficulties that come with being a caregiver. We want you to know that you are not alone! Join us for our next Stress Busting retreat on January 17 from 10:00 am to 11:30 am.

We’ll provide insightful education and crucial support, teach practical stress management techniques (that actually work), and help you develop useful coping strategies. (Find more details below or click here to register.)

As a taster for the retreat, here are a few tips for reducing stress and taking care of yourself. Because self-care is not selfish.

Five Ways for Caregivers to Reduce Stress

 

  1. Talk about it. The fears and anxieties associated with both memory loss and caring for someone with memory loss can tear you apart if you try and carry that burden all alone. Talk to your friends and your loved one about how you’re feeling.

 

  1. Ask for/Accept help. When a friend asks, “Is there anything I can do?” give him or her something to do. Let them run an errand, or better yet, let them sit with your loved one while you take a break and get out on your own.

 

  1. Keep a journal. Write down your fears and your hopes. Keep track of the reality of what each day is like, both the losses and the victories, however big or small they may seem. Writing things down helps you clarify your thoughts and feelings, which goes a long way towards managing the stress.

 

  1. Take good care of yourself. Eat good food, exercise, rest well, and learn to say no. Get away from the house now and then, even if it is just a quick walk around the block. Being outside in the fresh air can be one of the most therapeutic things you can do.

 

  1. Release the expectations for perfection. You do not have to have it all together. You’re human, which means you do not have infinite energy or wisdom to manage everything. Give yourself grace, get through each day as best you can, and don’t dwell on any mistakes.

 

St. John’s Community Care Stress Busting Retreat

If you are interested in joining, please call (618) 298-8077 or email Gail at gshaw@stjohnscc.org to register. You can also fill out the form on our website to register or get more information. Sessions are currently offered online via Zoom. Anyone from anywhere is welcome to join, and there is no charge to participate.