Take Care of the Alzheimer's Caregiver

If you are an Alzheimer's caregiver, you need to be careful to watch your own health and not hesitate to speak up when you need help. Why do we say this?

Being an Alzheimer's caregiver can be one of the most difficult jobs one could have. To watch a beloved parent or spouse slowly slip away as they continue to forget things can be absolutely devastating. The once strong father that taught you to ride a bike or mother that walked you to school when you were a child is now the child himself or herself. To think that the husband or wife that you've build a life with is quickly thinking of you as a stranger can be almost too much to bear. Being an Alzheimer's caregiver can take an emotional toll on someone like almost nothing else can.

There is a danger too of becoming physically exhausted when you're an Alzheimer's caregiver. The patient can need virtually round-the-clock care and attention. Some patients do not know to stay in their own home and have been known to walk out the door in the middle of the night, or when they're still in their pajamas, or have no place to go. This can happen even in the worst of weather, putting them in great physical danger. An Alzheimer's caregiver can be constantly on the alert while keeping an eye on the patient.

Some Alzheimer's caregivers are hesitant to ask for help, thinking that it's their obligation to take care of their parent or spouse twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week. They think that a "good" son or daughter would never ask for assistance in caring for a parent, and a spouse may be afraid that someone will put both the patient and him or her in a nursing home if they think they can't take care of themselves. However, all Alzheimer's caregivers can use assistance. They need time to themselves, and time to relax as well. They can suffer from physical exhaustion as they try to care for the patient's physical needs such as hygiene, feeding, dressing, and so on. These things can be especially difficult if the Alzheimer's caregiver is also getting a bit older himself or herself. So if this sounds like you, don't hesitate to ask for assistance from other family members or friends before you become exhausted yourself.

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Alzheimer's Association national site – information on Alzheimer's disease and dementia symptoms, diagnosis, stages, treatment, care and support resources.
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