There are millions of Americans who have
Alzheimer’s disease. And with this, there are the millions who are unpaid caregivers for a person with Alzheimer’s or another form of
dementia. The health and emotional stability of people who care for Alzheimer’s patients directly affects the patients themselves, and thus should be an important part of the patients’ care plans.
What Can Be Done to Reduce Caregiver Burden
The daily routine of caring for a chronically ill person can put tremendous physical and emotional strain on caregivers, particularly for families who have assumed care responsibilities more recently. Here are some tips on coping with the stress that may come with caring for someone with Alzheimer's:
- Know that there is help available. You are not alone. Adult day care, in-home assistance, visiting nurses, and Meals-on-Wheels are some services that may be helpful.
- It is okay to ask for help from family and friends. Also consider joining support groups or an online community.
- Take care of yourself. Be mindful of what you eat, get plenty of exercise, and get enough rest.
- Squeeze in some personal time. Stroll around the mall, have lunch with friends, or just take a nice walk.
- Manage your stress level.
- Do not be hard on yourself or the situation.
Accept changes that may come with meeting the needs of someone with Alzheimer's. Sometimes care beyond what you can provide is needed. This includes in-home caregiver services and residential care.
- Get your legal and financial planning in order. Talk with an attorney about legal, financial, and care issues.
The importance of easing the mental and physical burdens of those who care for Alzheimer’s patients cannot be underestimated, as the health of Alzheimer’s patients is closely related to the health of their caregivers. But your health is important too. So be sure to take care of yourself as you care for others.