How Dementia Impacts Family Caregivers and How to Relieve the Stress

dementia impacts family caregiver adult son with mother
When caring for a loved one with dementia, it is common for family caregivers to experience emotional challenges on a daily basis.

Picture how it would feel to awaken in an unfamiliar location, not able to remember how you arrived there or even what your name is. Progressing into complete disorientation, then quickly leading to anger and fear, you might find yourself lashing out at the unknown person positioned beside your bed, talking to you in a quiet voice.

This scenario paints a bleak and unfortunately accurate representation of someone in the grips of dementia’s reality. Now imagine standing in front of a person you love knowing that person is looking back at you with no recognition whatsoever. Every single day your heart breaks a little bit more, but you push through the pain and go on with the responsibilities of caring for a loved one.

Based on a recent report from the Alzheimer’s Association, an overwhelming 17.7 billion hours of care are provided by family caregivers each year to people with Alzheimer’s. With the continual emotional strain that caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can cause, it’s easily one of the most stressful types of care arrangements. It is well-known that dementia impacts family caregivers on a number of fronts. Family caregivers have numerous issues that contribute to their level of stress, including difficulty with “letting go” of care responsibilities for the senior impacted by the disease; feelings of guilt when contemplating nursing home placement; or fear of seeming weak and inadequate if outside help is needed.

Without question, these statistics show a tremendous need for caregiver respite care. Not only that, but respite is needed more often than once or twice a year to be truly beneficial. Family caregivers need to know that support is not just helpful but necessary, and they need to relax and engage in a life of their own. Devoting a life entirely to providing care for someone can in fact cause great harm to both people’s lives. Family caregivers who allow themselves ongoing respite feel restored and better able to provide the best care. And those who do not are at risk for caregiver burnout.

Bring in some caregiving reinforcements if you detect the signs of burnout, such as:

  • Excessive stress and tension
  • Incapacitating depression
  • Relentless anxiety, anger or guilt
  • Decreased overall life satisfaction
  • Relationship conflicts and social isolation
  • Compromised immunity and greater need for healthcare services
  • Excessive use of medicines, drugs or alcohol

If any of these warning signs resonate with you, reach out to Heaven at Home Senior Care at 972-245-1515. Our professionals will provide a free in-home consultation and develop a personalized dementia support care plan for your loved one, allowing you much-needed respite time to recharge. Support from the leading provider of dementia care in Fort Worth and surrounding areas is just a phone call away. See our full service area.