3 Resolutions to Reduce Caregiver Stress Wednesday, December 23, 2020 Family caregivers often balance many roles and responsibilities when caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Managing stress effectively can allow you to focus more fully on your relationship with your loved one. Here are three ways you can reduce your stress levels as we move into the new year: Ask for Help As care needs change over time, ask for additional support from those closest to you. Enlist help from other family members so you are not taking everything on yourself, while also providing a pleasant change of routine for your loved one. The key to having more than one caregiver is open, clear, and consistent communication. Define roles and expectations with all family members involved so that there are no misunderstandings. Putting your loved one’s needs first should be a shared priority, regardless of who is acting as caregiver at any given time. Do Some Research There are numerous support groups and services available to ease the strain of family caregivers. The Alzheimer’s Association has extensive online resources available for family members experiencing challenges at all different levels of care. Additionally, support groups and individual counseling are also readily available for those that are ready to join a community of support. Make Time For Yourself Self-care is key to reducing stress so that you can be fully present for your loved one’s needs. Try to make time for small moments of joy for yourself, such as taking a short walk, listening to calming music, or enjoying a favorite snack. According to Teepa Snow, a leading educator in dementia care, caregivers should follow a “person-centered approach” when caring for a loved one with memory issues. The same can be applied to your own personal care as well. Carving out time for yourself to recharge and relax is key to reducing stress as a caregiver. When you’re ready to consider the move to a memory care community, Willow River is here to reduce your stress as a caregiver. Monthly virtual or in-person support groups are available for caregivers across most communities. The Willow River communities offer all-inclusive professional care to deliver your loved one the personalized assistance they need, while allowing you to fully focus your attention on what’s most important – your relationship. When you’re ready to reach out, the Willow River team is here to help you navigate the decision-making process. Visit the Willow River website to learn more about family resources and explore the Willow River communities to find out which location is the best fit for your family’s needs.