If you made a list of new year’s resolutions, chances are you’re already running into a few challenges keeping them, right?
You’re not alone. Lists are easy to make but not quite as easy to follow. And yet, for family caregivers of loved ones with dementia, a good list of “dos” that are actually “doable” is essential to tackling day to day challenges as well as caring for your own needs.
We have seen, first hand, the improvement in quality of life for family caregivers that results from setting positive personal goals and tackling them one by one.
Here are 5 great tips to help you navigate 2022 and make it a truly wonderful year for yourself, your loved one with dementia and your family.
- Expand your support network. Reach out to your friends and family members and make plans to get together or call more frequently in the new year. If you haven’t already done so, consider finding a good therapist. Look for someone with experience in elder care and who has resources to fill in the gaps between appointments.
- Start a journal (or pick it up again). And keep with it! Like anything else, it takes time and consistency to build a new habit. Writing, even if just a few sentences per day, provides an outlet that has an amazing ability to reduce stress and keep you focused on what really counts.
- Take up yoga and/or meditation. A study cited by Mayo Clinic reports that caregivers who participated in an 8-week yoga group experienced both physical and emotional benefits. They reported feeling peaceful and relaxed. You can too.
- Join a dementia support group. There are many available. You can check out our Anthem Memory Care communities and find a local group. Many are also offered virtually.
- Look into long term memory care. While you may be in the earlier stages of caring for a loved one with dementia, the time may come when you want to transition them to a care environment specifically created to serve their physical, cognitive, and emotional needs. Now is the time to begin looking.
Remember, too, not to neglect your own physical health. Whether you join a gym, work out to exercise videos or just start taking walks, all are great ways to recharge your body and clear your head. When you feel better physically, you’ll find that a lot of other things fall into place.
A new year is a chance for a new beginning. Reach out and re-connect with old friends. Give yourself more “me” time and seek things that bring you joy. Celebrate them.
The new year is what you make of it. So make it something wonderful. You deserve it.