Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease is extremely challenging. The stress of providing 24 hours care along with feelings of sadness and despair can wreak havoc on the health of the caregiver. The caregiver needs to recognize:
- You cannot do it alone. There are many resources available through the Valley Area Agency on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association.
- If someone offers help, take it. If family members, friends and others offer help, don’t feel guilty. It is important to get away and take a break every once in a while.
- Find a support group. Learning that others have similar experiences is an enormous relief. A local support group can be found through the Alzheimer’s Association.
- Take some respite time. Many nursing homes and assisted living facilities will take Alzheimer’s patients on a respite basis.
- Maintaining the caregiver’s health is just as important as caring for the Alzheimer’s patient. Caregivers should take advantage of resources available (such as counseling) and talk to their health care provider.
- Caregivers should plan ahead by finding an experienced elder law attorney. They should also be prepared by visiting nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the event care outside the home is needed.
Caregivers who are knowledgeable and who care for themselves can ultimately provide the best care to their loved one.