Support and Advice for Exhausted Alzheimer’s Caregivers

This blog is another great piece by Claire Wentz

claire@caringfromafar.com

Support and Advice for Exhausted Alzheimer’s Caregivers

About Alzheimer’s Disease 

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Alzheimer’s disease is a specific brain degenerative disorder with symptoms very similar to other types of dementia. The majority of people with Alzheimer’s are age 65 and older with mild symptoms appearing early and becoming progressively worse with time. The first changes in the brain can show up to 15 years before symptoms begin to show. From there, the disease progresses through several stages from moderate impairment to severe Alzheimer’s.

Early signs of Alzheimer’s include an inability to recall newly learned information, challenges in solving problems, difficulty completing familiar tasks, confusion with time or place, issues with spatial relationships, verbal problems, constantly misplacing things, poor judgment, withdrawal, and changes in mood or personality.

As Alzheimer’s progresses, other symptoms include:

  • Extreme memory loss
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Being haphazard with money
  • Lost perception of time
  • Increased problems with communication
  • Aimless wandering
  • Repetitive speech or actions
  • Inability to recognize loved ones
  • Loss of motor skills
  • Difficulty dressing oneself
  • Neglecting hygiene
  • Forgetting meals
  • Delusions or hallucinations
  • Acts of aggression or violence
  • Eventual loss of control over the body

Alzheimer’s Caretakers and Self-Care

 

As the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease progress, patients require round-the-clock care for their safety and wellbeing. Many people rely on friends and family to act as caregivers while dealing with their disease. Statistics from 2016 estimate 15.9 million people acted as Alzheimer’s caregivers for a loved one that year, ultimately providing at least 18.2 billion hours of unpaid work. Being an Alzheimer’s caregiver is particularly taxing and those who do it report substantial emotional, financial, and physical difficulties as a result — 35 percent say their health is in decline due to their responsibilities as caregiver.

About Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a specific brain degenerative disorder with symptoms very similar to other types of dementia. The majority of people with Alzheimer’s are age 65 and older with mild symptoms appearing early and becoming progressively worse with time. The first changes in the brain can show up to 15 years before symptoms begin to show. From there, the disease progresses through several stages from moderate impairment to severe Alzheimer’s.

 

Early signs of Alzheimer’s include an inability to recall newly learned information, challenges in solving problems, difficulty completing familiar tasks, confusion with time or place, issues with spatial relationships, verbal problems, constantly misplacing things, poor judgment, withdrawal, and changes in mood or personality.

 

As Alzheimer’s progresses, other symptoms include:
  • Extreme memory loss
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Being haphazard with money
  • Lost perception of time
  • Increased problems with communication
  • Aimless wandering
  • Repetitive speech or actions
  • Inability to recognize loved ones
  • Loss of motor skills
  • Difficulty dressing oneself
  • Neglecting hygiene
  • Forgetting meals
  • Delusions or hallucinations
  • Acts of aggression or violence
  • Eventual loss of control over the body

Alzheimer’s Caretakers and Self-Care

As the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease progress, patients require round-the-clock care for their safety and wellbeing. Many people rely on friends and family to act as caregivers while dealing with their disease. Statistics from 2016 estimate 15.9 million people acted as Alzheimer’s caregivers for a loved one that year, ultimately providing at least 18.2 billion hours of unpaid work. Being an Alzheimer’s caregiver is particularly taxing and those who do it report substantial emotional, financial, and physical difficulties as a result — 35 percent say their health is in decline due to their responsibilities as caregiver.

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease is a loyal and loving thing to do. However, if you are not properly caring for yourself, you can’t do your best job for the patient. It’s important to be proactive in practicing self-care to get through this difficult time.

Don’t Lose Hobbies or Interests

Whenever you have to dedicate your time to something like Alzheimer’s caregiving, it’s easy to dismiss hobbies and interests as a waste of time in comparison. However, keeping up with the things you love is just as important as anything else. You need that time to step away from the stresses of your situation and just do something for you.

Reach Out For Help

You never know if someone is able and willing to help unless you ask. You may be surprised which family members or friends have the time and resources available to help with your caregiving. Even if you don’t have family support, you deserve help in whatever form it comes. For instance, having a housekeeping service come and clean your place for you can lift a huge burden off your shoulders for just a few bucks. Most homeowners only have to spend between $122 to $167 to hire a maid service.

 

Apply for Financial Assistance

Caring for an Alzheimer’s patient can be incredibly expensive. Fortunately, there are resources available for caretakers to help fund things such as medical care and house modifications. It’s best to start contacting these agencies early to secure funding ahead of time before severe Alzheimer’s symptoms set it.

***

Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disorder that leaves people physically unable to care for themselves. A lot of the time, friends or family members step in as caregivers to assist the Alzheimer’s patient as they lose their faculties. This can be an incredibly taxing endeavor and it’s important for Alzheimer’s caregivers to remember their own needs as well as the patient’s.

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease is a loyal and loving thing to do. However, if you are not properly caring for yourself, you can’t do your best job for the patient. It’s important to be proactive in practicing self-care to get through this difficult time.

Don’t Lose Hobbies or Interests

 

Whenever you have to dedicate your time to something like Alzheimer’s caregiving, it’s easy to dismiss hobbies and interests as a waste of time in comparison. However, keeping up with the things you love is just as important as anything else. You need that time to step away from the stresses of your situation and just do something for you.

 

Reach Out For Help

You never know if someone is able and willing to help unless you ask. You may be surprised which family members or friends have the time and resources available to help with your caregiving. Even if you don’t have family support, you deserve help in whatever form it comes. For instance, having a housekeeping service come and clean your place for you can lift a huge burden off your shoulders for just a few bucks. Most homeowners only have to spend between $122 to $167 to hire a maid service.

Apply for Financial Assistance

 

Caring for an Alzheimer’s patient can be incredibly expensive. Fortunately, there are resources available for caretakers to help fund things such as medical care and house modifications. It’s best to start contacting these agencies early to secure funding ahead of time before severe Alzheimer’s symptoms set it.

Support and Advice for Exhausted Alzheimer’s Caregivers

***

Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disorder that leaves people physically unable to care for themselves. A lot of the time, friends or family members step in as caregivers to assist the Alzheimer’s patient as they lose their faculties. This can be an incredibly taxing endeavor and it’s important for Alzheimer’s caregivers to remember their own needs as well as the patient’s.

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