Do you find yourself torn between priorities: caring for your loved one with dementia, spending quality time with your family, building a career — and making time for yourself? Here are six ways to get respite, build resilience and find a balance that works for you.
By Sriyani Rao
As caregivers, we often hold ourselves to impossibly high standards. We want to provide the best care for our loved ones and still fulfil our responsibilities to our own families and career. However, this is easier said than done.
While caring for your loved one, it is common to feel stressed and frustrated every other day, making it harder to run a family at home and excel at work at the same time. It’s a tough act to balance caregiving, family and work. Take a look at these six ways to get respite, build resilience and find a balance that works for you.
1. Flexibility at work
Take a bold step in approaching your employer about your situation and loved one’s diagnosis. Most employers would likely be supportive and agree to a flexible work schedule. This would allow you to cut back your hours on certain days or work from home.
Having a little bit less on your plate reduces stress, allowing you to feel more productive and focused, ultimately giving you peace of mind.
2. Time for yourself, every week
With the help of a home care nurse, you can be assured that your loved one is receiving the best care at home, while you attend your child’s ballet recital, or simply take a momentary respite. Homage Malaysia offers well-trained local care professionals to attend to your loved one even if for just for a couple of hours
3. Support for you and your loved one
Did you know Alzheimer’s disease currently impacts more than 50,000 people in Malaysia? Rising statistics are paving the way for creative programs and tailored support, much like that offered by the Caring With You Dementia Enrichment Centre.
Based in Bukit Damansara, KL, Caring With You offers respite, education and training for caregivers while their tailored programs are designed to keep your loved one occupied with activities that would reduce thoughts of anxiety and negativity. Talk to their care professionals today by calling 03-2011 1806.
“Caring for a loved one with dementia, building a career and bringing up your family is a full-time commitment — one that requires a lot of support and compassion.”
4. Teamwork at home
Coming back home after a long day at work, having to prepare dinner for the family and making sure your loved one is following a well-planned routine can lead to serious burnout or anxiety issues in the long run.
In balancing caregiving, family and work, proper organization and advance planning can turn things around. Educate your family members on your loved one’s daily routine and if possible, get them to take turns caring or helping with household chores. Set schedules, if necessary.
Need help with preparing meals? Opt for the occasional GrabFood take-out or plan meals that only take 30 minutes to put together throughout the week.
5. Medical care for yourself (and your family)
Taking the day off from work because you’ve come down with the flu? With your husband at work and kids in school, it can be difficult and frustrating to leave your loved one alone at home to make a trip to the clinic.
Use DoctorOnCall, Malaysia’s first online clinic and prescription-based pharmacy. In just as little as 5-7 minutes, you can have a consultation with a doctor via audio or video call without leaving the comfort of your own home.
6. Speak to others like you
It can be challenging for colleagues and family members to truly understand the journey of a caregiver. In a study by Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 60% of Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers reported a high level of emotional stress while delivering care and around 40% of them suffered from depression.
Remember, you are not alone. Caring for a loved one with dementia, building a career and bringing up your family is a full-time commitment — one that requires a lot of support and compassion. Speak to other caregivers from the Project We Forgot (PWF) community to connect, support and learn from each other’s experiences.
Project We Forgot (PWF)’s work in Malaysia is supported by the Rotary Club Luxembourg Hearts.