When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia, the dynamics of your personal life transform. Suddenly, you find yourself in a dual role—a dedicated care partner and a person managing their own life. This new reality can be challenging, demanding an intricate balancing act between providing effective care and maintaining your well-being.

Care partner burnout is a common condition that affects millions of Canadians who have selflessly opted to dedicate their time and energy to caring for someone living with a form of Memory Loss.

In this guide, we’ll explore strategies to ensure that while you’re an essential asset to those in need, you don’t burn out in the process.

Understanding Dementia Caregiving

One of the most critical aspects of Dementia Memory Care is understanding the disease itself. Dementia is not a single condition, but a group of illnesses characterized by a decline in cognitive function. Care partners often witness a change in a loved one’s personality and behaviour, which can be unsettling and require significant adjustments.

Caregiving for an individual with dementia can be emotionally and physically taxing. Care partners can suffer emotional anguish and physical strain while performing daily living activities for another person. Whether the care is part-time or full-time, the care partner is at risk for burnout which can affect the quality of care given.

Understanding the Challenges

Dementia caregiving comes with its unique set of challenges, including but not limited to the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). The BPSD spectrum encompasses a wide range of psychological symptoms, necessitating a deep understanding and flexible response from care partners.

Constantly assisting with dressing, grooming, hygiene, eating, medication management, and performing household chores can take a toll on a care partner. Behavioural changes can require constant supervision and may need partial or full mobility support.

In addition, care partners of people living with Memory Loss often experience ambiguous loss—the individual they are caring for is present, yet not the person they once were. This type of loss is ongoing and can be more challenging to manage.

Strategies for Maintaining Balance

Providing quality care for a person living with Memory Loss and balancing your own professional and personal life means establishing specific boundaries. Sometimes that’s easier said than done. Set realistic expectations for what you can do in a day without compromising your mental and physical health.

Ensure that you prioritize self-care, including proper diet, exercise, and adequate sleep. Tending to these needs may seem trivial compared to the caregiving responsibility, but they are essential to your ability to provide care over the long term.

Remember that you don’t have to go through this alone. Building a support network of family, friends, and local support groups can provide the added resources and emotional support you need. Never hesitate to accept help when it’s offered.

Recognizing and Preventing Burnout

Care partner burnout varies from person to person, but for the most part, it is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. It’s where you become depleted, both emotionally and physically, and it can seriously impair your ability to care for your loved one.

Emotional, mental, and physical symptoms involve but are not limited to, exhaustion, withdrawal, fatigue, headaches, irritability, and sleep disturbances.

Preventative measures are crucial. Regularly assess your own well-being and separate your personal life from caring by spending time with family, taking frequent breaks, following a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and indulging in hobbies.

You can also utilize available respite care services, which provide a temporary break for care partners. This can range from a few hours during the day to a stay in a specialized Memory Care environment to meet your loved one’s needs.

Juggling Caregiving & Self-Care? Memory & Company Can Help You Thrive!

At Memory & Company, we believe it is possible to strike a balance between providing quality care and indulging in self-care for care partners of those living with Memory Loss. We have two locations offering dementia care in Oakville and short-term and long-term care in Markham.

Our Premium Day Program provides supportive programming focusing on the mind, body, and soul for all parties involved in the Memory Care journey. Contact us today to schedule a personal tour and consultation.