Care Partners: Roles, Risks and Remembering You’re Not Alone
Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease at home is a difficult task and can become overwhelming at times. Each day brings new challenges as the caregiver copes with changing levels of ability and new patterns of behavior.
Research has shown that caregivers themselves often are at increased risk for depression and illness, especially if they do not receive adequate support from family, friends, and the community.
One of the biggest struggles caregivers face is dealing with the difficult behaviors of the person they are caring for. Dressing, bathing, eating-basic activities of daily living—often become difficult to manage for both the person with Alzheimer’s and the caregiver.
Having a plan for getting through the day can help caregivers cope. Many caregivers have found it helpful to use strategies for dealing with difficult behaviors and stressful situations. Through trial and error, you will find that some tips work, while others do not. Each person with Alzheimer’s is unique and will respond differently, and each person changes over the course of the disease.
Do the best you can, and remind yourself to take breaks. Ask for help and be very specific with your request. Do not ask “What would you be willing to do?” or “Can you help out?” Instead ask, “Can you stay with Mom on Thursday evening from 7 to 9 so I can go grocery shopping and stop by the pharmacy?” When people know the boundaries of a request they are much more likely to feel comfortable with helping.
Resources for Caregivers
Alzheimer’s Tennessee, Inc. offers Caring & Coping caregiver workshops throughout the year that focus on caregiving strategies.
Caregiver Academy videos offer short, easy to understand practical tips and inspiration to caregivers whenever and wherever you need it.
The Alzheimer's Tennessee Resource Library offers online and printable information vital to caregivers. (Available soon.)