7 Ways to Ease Caregiving and Prevent Burnout

The Caregiver’s Journey Through Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Calmer Waters by Barbra CohnAfter spending a decade caring for her husband who died from younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Barbra Cohn offers a spiritual and holistic guide to help caregivers feel happier and healthier, have more energy and time for themselves, sleep better, feel more relaxed and confident, and experience inner peace, despite the obstacles they face.

Cohn says, “Now that my husband has passed away, I want to help other caregivers reduce stress and maintain their health and well-being. Based on my personal experience, and career as a health writer/researcher and nutrition educator, I was compelled to write Calmer Waters: The Caregiver’s Guide Through Alzheimer’s and Dementia (Blue River Press, 2016, ISBN 978-1-68157-014-3-51699, $16.99, http://cardinalpub.com/?product=calmer-waters)

With pathos, humor, and compassion, Calmer Waters includes the author’s compelling life story, inspirational essays and rituals from spiritual leaders, stories from family caregivers, and twenty healing modalities from renowned experts that can be practically incorporated into a daily regimen. An added bonus is that both care partners the caregiver and memory-impaired individual can use most of the healing modalities, allowing for a stronger connection between the two.

Riveting personal accounts of the journeys that caregivers embarked on with their loved ones illustrate the challenging medical, financial, emotional, and social roadblocks that accompany coping with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. A rare blend of storytelling and practical and spiritual advice, this book offers an uplifting account of the strength of the human spirit and a testament to the love and dedication of the 15 million Americans caring for a memory-impaired relative or friend

Barbra Cohn holds a Master’s degree in professional writing, a BA in both English and Religious Studies, and a Certificate in Nutrition from the Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts. As a nutrition educator, she offers nutritional support to caregivers, guiding them to make healthy food and lifestyle choices. Barbra has been a professional writer for 35 years, and has written hundreds of health and travel articles for national and regional publications.

Stress is the #1 health concern among caregivers
Caregivers typically feel stressed, tired, and worried. When you spend hours each day feeding, dressing, and toileting a loved one, you have little time to take care of your own needs. You might feel resentful, lonely, unhappy, depressed . . . and guilty. If you have to get up during the night to help your care partner (the person you are caring for) with toileting, wandering, or anxiety, you might not have the energy to get through the day without the aid of too many cups of coffee.

7 ways to make caregiving a little easier

1. Breathe deeply. It’s free and will set you free. Sit up straight on a chair and focus on your breath. Take a deep breath and then let it go. Continue for several minutes until your body and thoughts settle down.
2. Find something to laugh about every day. When your care partner does or says something outrageous, instead of getting upset turn it around and laugh with him/her (not at her). It will diffuse the situation and bring the two of you closer. Or, watch funny “you tube” videos.
3. Keep a journal. Writing down your fears and frustrations is an easy way to express your thoughts quickly without having to see your therapist. (Don’t worry about spelling or grammar.)
4. Move! Exercise is vital to staying healthy and strong. The days you feel “stuck” or stiff are the days it’s most important to put on your walking shoes, sunglasses and hat, and go for a walk.
5. Take a bath. Hydrotherapy has been used for thousands of years as a healing modality to relieve stress, release aches and stiffness, and refresh the mind and emotions. For an added benefit, add Epsom salts and/or essential oil.
6. Sunbathe for a vitamin D boost and quick mini vacation.
7. Repeat an affirmation before getting out of bed to set the tone of the day. “Toddy is going to be a good day,” “I am a loving, kind person,” “I am grateful for my family and friends.”

Barbra Cohn

Barbra Cohn

Visit Barbra’s blog, thehealthcaregiverblog, at barbracohn.com for articles on Alzheimer’s dementia, nutritional supplements, nutrition, recipes, and the latest research on how you can support your health and well-being.