Alzheimer's Caregiver Stress

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be overwhelming at times. You love this person and want to give them the best life possible, but it can be tiring even at the best of times. From the added chores of assisting them with daily tasks to the stress of dealing with wandering at night, you cannot hold up to the challenge without taking care of yourself, too. Here are some tips on how to manage stress while caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.

Understanding Alzheimer’s Caregivers Stress

Caring for any aging loved one can result in caregiver stress, but it becomes even more likely when that person has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Because this is a progressive disease, the person will continue to require more care. One of the causes of Alzheimer’s stress is the worry you have when you aren’t with the person. Maybe they forget to take their medicine. What if they didn’t remember to turn off the stove? Or they got lost when they went outside.

Add in your extra responsibilities in helping your family member with tasks that used to be routine, like bathing, dressing, medications and eating, and it’s no wonder caregivers feel stressed out. However, there are some ways you can manage this stress.

Recognize Caregiver Stress

Alzheimer’s caregiver stress doesn’t just happen overnight. It comes on slowly, building over time as you continue to care for your loved one. Some signs that you are suffering from caregiver stress include the following:

• Anger at the loved one
• Withdrawing from social events
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Exhaustion
• Insomnia even when you're tired
• Irritability
• Inability to concentrate
• Physical health problems

How to Manage Stress

It can be difficult to know what to do to deal with the stress when you know your loved one cannot care for themselves and they aren’t going to get better. However, you must learn to manage your stress for you and your family member.

Find out about community resources. You may be able to find adult daycare or home health which will assist you in caring for your loved one. Meal delivery services can take one task off your list.

Learn about the disease. Even people who understand the basics about Alzheimer’s may not always be prepared for its progression. Get educated so you know what to expect. It also helps you decide if there may be a time when you can no longer continue caregiving.

One of the most important things you can do as a caregiver is to take care of yourself. Take a break and have a friend or family member watch your loved one for a couple of hours. You need time to relax and sleep without worrying or you won’t be able to continue with this crazy routine. You also should contact a doctor if you’re noticing health issues that may have arisen from the stress of caregiving.

Being a caregiver of an Alzheimer’s patient is not easy, but you can handle it better if you learn how to manage the stress. Follow these techniques and tips and give your best to yourself, your family and your elderly loved one.

Sources:

http://www.alz.org/national/documents/brochure_caregiverstress.pdf

Alzheimer Caregiver
Alzheimer's Support Group