Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease is an enormous responsibility. Learn how you can watch for the warning signs of caregiver stress and what you can do to help cope with being a caregiver.
There’s an estimated of 60-70 percent of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of Dementia who are cared for in their homes, often by loved ones who are not medically trained. It’s no wonder that caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease suffer high levels of stress.
As the disease progresses, your caregiving efforts will require ongoing vigilance and around-the-clock monitoring. You may be called upon to adapt to changes in the person you are caring for and develop new skills to shoulder an increasing amount of responsibility. If your caregiving efforts are surpassing your ability to cope well, it may be because of stress.
What Are the Warning Signs of Stress
Here are some warning signs of stress that a caregiver may experience:
- Denial: Maintaining a belief that the care receiver’s illness is not serious or that it may not even exist.
- Anxiety: Worrying excessively about the future.
- Depression: Feeling hopeless or powerless about the situation.
- Irritability: Blowing up over little things.
- Anger: Feeling angry at inappropriate times.
- Poor concentration: Having difficulty focusing.
- Withdrawal: Feeling alienated from other people and from activities that used to bring enjoyment.
- Sleep problems: Sleeping poorly or too much.
- Exhaustion: Feeling chronically tired.
- Illness: Experiencing health problems. Prolonged stress also can contribute to illnesses such as weakened immune systems, high-blood pressure, and heart disease.
What You Can Do
Alzheimer’s disease is devastating, and being a caregiver can take a mental and physical toll on you. We have expert advice, tips, how-tos, and other articles on ways you can reduce your stress and maintain your health and well being so you can be a strong caregiver. We also have helpful resources so you can educate yourself about Alzheimer’s disease and find sources of help through the government, local respite services, support groups, and other organizations. There is also a helpful article on how to obtain caregiver training.
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