Using Mindfulness When Caring for a Parent with Alzheimer’s

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Mindfulness is a technique that can reduce stress for people caring for elderly loved ones living with Alzheimer’s. Learning and regularly practicing this method can make caregiving more positive and enhance relationships between seniors and their family caregivers. Mindfulness can also be implemented in other aspects of daily life.

Educate Yourself 

Once your loved one receives an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, learn about the stages of the disorder. Familiarize yourself with common behaviors and thought processes associated with the condition. This way, you’ll be prepared for what might occur. 

Without proper training in Alzheimer’s care, it may be difficult to provide the care your loved one needs and deserves. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elderly home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.

Learn the Basics of Mindfulness 

Mindfulness basically involves becoming immersed in and focused on the moment. Practice the technique throughout the day while you’re busy with daily activities. When outside, clear your mind. Glance at the sky, and listen to the sounds created by people, vehicles, and wildlife. Notice the colors around you, and take in the aromas. Feel the wind on your face, and let calmness rise within your being.

Perform Mindfulness Exercises

Enhance your ability to be mindful by meditating, praying, or taking a relaxing stroll. Concentrate on being in the moment with a clear mind. The more frequently you practice conscious mindfulness, the faster your brain can learn the behavior.

Apply Mindfulness Practically 

Regardless of the activity you’re engaged in with your loved one, focus on the moment. Resist the urge to rush the activity or try to divert your loved one’s attention elsewhere. Have a pleasant conversation and hear what your loved one has to say. Dismiss thoughts of other chores or responsibilities you need to accomplish during the day. If your loved one becomes agitated, fearful, or suspicious, don’t pass judgment. Try to evaluate what might have triggered the behavior to reduce the possibility of a recurrence. 

Be aware of your emotions in the moment. Give yourself permission to feel both positive and negative emotions. Suppressing emotions often leads to anxiety from festering negativity. Try releasing your frustrations and other unpleasant feelings by documenting situations in a journal or creating paintings. Sharing your experiences with others may provide the possibility of gaining knowledge. Letting others help with caregiving could also alleviate stress. 

Family caregivers sometimes need a break from their caregiving responsibilities. Whether you need respite from your caregiving duties or your aging loved one needs live-in care, Kingwood, TX, Home Care Assistance can meet your family’s care needs. Our dedicated caregivers are available around the clock to provide transportation to doctor’s appointments, ensure seniors take their prescribed medications, and help with a variety of tasks in and outside the home.

Researchers understand the challenges that accompany caring for a family member with a neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s. Caregivers are more susceptible to anxiety, depression, fatigue, impaired immunity, and other medical concerns. Scientists from Germany’s Bender Institute of Neuroimaging and the University of Massachusetts Medical School evaluated MRI scans of 33 volunteers. Half of the study subjects attended weekly mindfulness sessions. After two weeks, all the volunteers had follow-up MRI scans. The MRIs of the volunteers who had participated in mindfulness training showed higher levels of gray matter density and activity in the hippocampus, which involves emotional control, memory, and learning. Gray matter activity also increased in other areas of the brain. 

If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or another cognitive disorder and you need additional help, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Kingwood Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. To hire high-quality in-home care for your loved one, call us at 832-412-1345 today.