Caregivers’ health crucial to patients

Taking care of the caregiver is an important issue for Nanaimo families contending with dementia.

Taking care of the caregiver is an important issue for Nanaimo families contending with dementia, since caregiving can be physically and emotionally stressful.

“One of the most important things you can do to support someone with dementia is to take care of yourself,” said Jane Hope, the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s regional support and education coordinator. “By acknowledging and addressing your own needs, you will be better prepared to provide effective care and support.”

Some self-care tips include:

Set realistic expectations – Make sure to take one day at a time.

Get help – Don’t try to do everything by yourself.

Look after yourself – Talk to someone who is willing to listen. Continue to participate in activities you enjoy and learn relaxation techniques. Get some exercise, even if it’s just a quick walk around the block.

See your doctor – Let your family physician know if you are concerned about your stress level.

You’re not alone – Participate in the society’s free support and information group in Nanaimo.

For more information, please call Hope at 250-734-4170 or e-mail jhope@alzheimerbc.org

The support group serves as a place to exchange information and support, and form friendships with others whose lives are affected by dementia.

A forum for sharing practical tips and strategies for coping with the disease, it also provides an opportunity to decrease feelings of isolation and loneliness, and to find a positive outlook on things without being misunderstood.

For more information on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, please go to www.alzheimerbc.org.