Caregiver Stress…a Frequent Problem

Being a caregiver…any type of caregiver…can be challenging and often stressful.  However, caring for an Alzheimer’s patient can be especially so.  It’s usually something we’re not prepared for and certainly not what we expected as a son or daughter or spouse.  Unless we’ve had training in that field (it could be our profession), the day-to-day responsibilities can be overwhelming.

Nowadays, there are more support groups and more information available than when I cared for Mother and Auntie.  I grew up with grandparents living in our home, but they did not have Alzheimer’s.  This disease wasn’t researched nor mentioned so much in the 1990s, when these ladies required my care.

  • Find someone who will help relieve you of your duties, who might come in and spend an afternoon with the patient.  Perhaps this will be a family member.  My neighbor used to help me with my mom because she had experience caring for her aunt.
  • Find support groups.  There are more and more cropping up connected with nursing homes, hospitals and senior centers.
  • Look for online information and support.
  • Learn all you can about Alzheimer’s so you can better understand your family member with this illness.
  • Learn to appreciate this person at this stage in their life.  It’s not something they can prevent so “go with the flow” and bring them joy in their Alzheimer’s world.

 

Caregivers Need Friends

Caregivers of Alzheimer’s family members can’t handle it alone.  If they don’t get caregiving help, they at least need someone to talk with.  This isn’t necessarily a family member, although it can be.

There are community caregiver groups that give you opportunities to meet with others experiencing the same situations.  They may be conducted by your local hospital, home care association, senior center or local nursing home.  Nowadays, there also are online caregiver support groups.

With me, it was my neighbor to start with.  Then I found a caregivers’ support group at the nursing home where Mother eventually resided.  My neighbor was caring for an aunt with Alzheimer’s.  I was responsible for my mom and her sister.  We shared information…laughed and cried about our situation.  We felt better after a chat, just knowing we weren’t alone.

If you’re a caregiver, look for these support resources that will help you maintain your emotional strength as well as physical well-being.