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8 Ways to Spring Clean and Refresh Your Dementia Caregiving Routine

Spring is almost upon us, which for many of us means a chance to throw open the windows and air out all the dust, dirt and stuffiness we’ve accumulated over the winter. As a dementia caregiver, there may be things in your life that also you wish you could air out and spruce up for the springtime. While there are many aspects to being a dementia caregiver that you can’t change, there are still many things you can control – and there are always opportunities to refresh and renew your caregiving routine.

 

“For caregivers who may have felt bogged down with the winter doldrums, springtime can be a chance to shake up their habits for the better,” says Crystal Yost, PCHA, PCH, Administrator at Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. “Spring means warmer weather, which leads to more opportunities for fresh air, activities and opportunities. While you’re shaking the dust from your rugs and getting your home ready for sunnier times, why not air out your caregiving routine as well?”

 

Spring Cleaning Tips for Dementia Caregivers

Whether you’ve been a caregiver for years or this is your first spring as a dementia caregiver, taking a look at your routine is an opportunity for you to make new goals, shake off a funk and recalibrate. Here are some tasks you can tick-off your to-do list that will have you feeling ready to welcome spring:

 

1. Out with the old, in with the new. Take a look at your daily routine and make a list of what’s working – and what isn’t. Are you consistently having trouble with healthy, regular mealtimes? What about things like bathtime or bedtime? Are there things you can be doing to make life a little easier and better for you or your loved one? This is also a chance for you to identify tasks or habits that you’re currently doing that aren’t really improving your quality of life.

 

2. Cultivate a sunny attitude. It’s hard to be chipper and cheerful all the time. But just as our house can get dusty during the winter months, it’s easy to get into a rut with your emotions, reactions and attitudes. Take this season as an opportunity to listen – really listen – and learn how you react in different situations. If you find yourself getting frustrated or grouchy, why is that? By understanding how your emotions are triggered by different scenarios, you can start taking steps to fix the situation or readjust how you react.

 

3. Work self-care into your daily routine. It’s easy to neglect our own needs when we’re focusing all our attention and energy on taking care of someone else. However, it’s essential for you to care for yourself as well. Make a commitment to do something every day that’s good for your mind, body or soul (or all three). For example, exercise for 30 minutes, call a friend or allow yourself to decompress in a warm bath.

 

4. Spend time with your loved one. Yes, you already spend a lot of time with your loved one – but in what capacity? Oftentimes, the “caregiving” role ends up becoming the primary relationship, while the original relationship – as spouse, child or friend – gets put on the back burner. Truthfully, that’s not a healthy situation for you or your loved one. It’s essential that you find ways to spend time with one another and nurture the relationship you began with. This may mean you need to hire some extra caregiving assistance, or rely on others to help accomplish daily tasks. However, doing this will be a boon for both you and your loved one.

 

5. Get outside. Being outside in the fresh air and sunlight does wonders for our health. Natural light helps keep our circadian rhythm in check, gives us a big boost of vitamin D and helps us feel more positive and optimistic. Fresh air has seemingly magical properties to make us feel refreshed. Soon, when the weather is warmer, and the birds are singing, and the trees and flowers are blooming, it will be the perfect time for you and your loved one to get outside for a walk or simply to enjoy nature.

 

6. Join a support group. Caregiving can feel like a very lonely job, but being connected to others who understand what you’re going through can make a world of difference. There are many options for dementia support groups these days online during this time of COVID-19 related restrictions.

 

7. Try something new. Doing the same thing day in, day out gets boring pretty quickly – for both you and your loved one. Take this opportunity to try something new with your loved one, like a new activity. Although routine is very important for those with dementia, they can also get great enjoyment from trying new things that are accessible to them. Consider something as small as an impromptu dance break while you’re washing the dishes, or getting them to help you bake cookies. Doing things together will help provide enjoyment and fulfillment, and also will help create happy moments for both of you.

 

8. Give yourself grace. Caregivers are often their own worst critics. This spring actively work towards giving yourself grace and kindness. Start by recognizing the things you can control, and the things you can’t. Learn to listen to yourself and your thoughts, and when you start feeling yourself going into a negative spiral, take a deep breath and refocus your thinking. Mediation and being present are good tools towards helping calm our minds and allowing yourself to feel peace. The kinder you can be to yourself, the better you’ll feel, which allows you to be an even better caregiver … in other words, it’s positive reinforcement.

 

For more information about spring cleaning tips for your dementia caregiving routine, please call Crystal at 484.380.5403.

Engaging Days. Meaningful Moments.

Loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or other memory impairments require specialized care and support. They also deserve a lifestyle rich in dignity and fulfillment. Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr provides residents with Engaging Days and Meaningful Moments that emphasize individual abilities, encourage socialization and promote the highest level of independence possible. We offer a complete continuum of leading-edge programs, services and amenities that address the total physical, emotional and social needs of residents in a caring setting that offers individual suites with large private baths and the comfort of home. Our memory care community touches hearts and changes lives.

 Helping Families Be “Family” Again.

Memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or another form of memory impairment doesn’t only affect the person who has it – it affects the entire family.

If you have a loved one with early- to mid-stage memory loss, you know how challenging it can be to provide the care that’s needed while trying to maintain balance in your life. As care needs increase, you may not be able to meet them physically or emotionally. It’s often difficult to be available to care for your loved one’s health and well-being around the clock.

If and when the time comes to seek additional help, place your trust in Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr. We lift the stresses and worries of being a caregiver from your shoulders, enabling you and your family to enjoy time with your loved one again.

For more information, please call Crystal at 484.380.5403 or contact us online.

Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.