Last Updated: November 12, 2018
November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month as well as National Caregivers Month. Caregivers are on the front lines of the fight against Alzheimer’s, witnessing its devastating effects daily.
This month, let’s celebrate caregivers for all they do and for the impact they have in the lives of people with Alzheimer’s, which cannot be overstated.
Celebrating Caregivers During Alzheimer’s Awareness Month
The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that in the last year (2018), 16.1 million caregivers provided 18.4 billion hours of unpaid care valued at $220 billion.
While both men and women are impacted by Alzheimer’s, women often bear the burden of caregiving more than men. Not only are two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s women, but more than 60% of Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers are women.
With many caregivers providing around the clock care while managing their own careers and families, it is no surprise that caregivers can feel an oppressive amount of stress. Take some time to put these mindfulness practices into your everyday life to reduce stress and avoid caregiver burnout.
Ways to Ease the Caregiving Burden
It is crucial to the health of the caregiver and their loved ones that caregivers manage stress effectively. If stress is not managed properly, caregivers can experience:
Practicing mindfulness allows caregivers to be in the moment and remain present, which can help ease the stress that accompanies caregiving and prevent caregiver burnout. Mindfulness has also been shown to decrease loneliness, improve longevity and mood.
These mindfulness practices can help caregivers practice self-care that will ultimately benefit themselves and their loved ones:
- Aromatherapy: Use essential oils to relieve stress.
- Deep Breathing Exercises: Go through a series of deep breaths and be purposeful about inhaling and exhaling.
- Meditation: Let go of stressful thoughts.
- Positive Affirmations: Encourage yourself by saying positive things about who you are.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Tighten and relax each muscle group in your entire body.
- Visualization: Mentally picture yourself in a peaceful, calm place.
- Yoga: Take a class or find a yoga video online.
How will you celebrate caregivers and manage stress during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month? Share your stories with us in the comments below.