Being an Alzheimer's Disease Caregiver

Caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease is often a stressful and demanding ordeal. If you or someone you know is a caregiver, it's good to remember that caregivers have human needs and emotions—and that they must care for themselves as well as their loved one. To help cope with the strain of caregiving, it is important to allow yourself to feel varying emotions (including negative feelings), express them, and deal with them.

Caregivers need to give themselves permission to be human. It is all right to:

  • Be angry: Turn this energy into positive action. Clean a closet, take a walk, or talk with someone.
  • Be frustrated: Stop what you are doing, take a deep breath, and begin a different activity.
  • Take time out: Sit in a favorite chair in a quiet room, take a trip to the store, or spend a few hours out with friends.
  • Ask for help: Explore family, friends, and local agencies for resource services. Many doctors' offices and clergy provide referrals.
  • Recognize your limits: You are a valuable person. Take care of yourself, too!
  • Make mistakes: No one is perfect, and mistakes help you learn.
  • Grieve: It is normal to be sad over the loss of the way things used to be.
  • Laugh and love: Now more than ever, it's important to have meaningful connections.
  • Hope: Tomorrow, the day may go smoother, a friend may call, and new treatments may be found.
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