Are You a Healthy Alzheimer’s Caregiver?

March 29, 2013

Imagine waking up every day not knowing or remembering who you are, where you are, your family members look like complete strangers to you, and navigating throughout the day seems like you are in an endless maze. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease and their loved ones experience this sense of helplessness and frustration on a daily basis.

Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease can be overwhelming and is a full time, 24-hour-a-day job. A person with Alzheimer’s disease experiences declining motor and memory abilities. A caregiver will experience their decline, as well as difficult behavior, as the disease progresses and must be fully equipped to handle the side effects of the disease. Routine activities often become more difficult and harder to manage for both the patient and the caregiver.

Alzheimer’s disease affects every aspect of the individual’s life and it also can upset the routine and emotions of the entire family. Studies indicate that caregivers succumb to more health problems, depression, higher mortality rates, and greater suicide risk, generating multiple patients instead of one.

If you are becoming overwhelmed with all of the responsibilities associated with caregiving, here are some suggestions from The Alzheimer’s Association ( that can help make caregiving easier:

•Take care of your own health. Your health is very important.  Eat a healthy and balanced diet and drink plenty of water. Make time for daily exercise – regular exercise can be beneficial in reducing stress. Get plenty of sleep.

•Learn to go slowly to save time and effort in the long run. When you are caring for a person with dementia, accept the fact that things will take longer.

•Educate yourself, family, and friends about the illness. Call the Alzheimer’s Association, at (800) 272-3900, for a family orientation or other educational information. Attend workshops to learn techniques that will make your caregiving less stressful.  Share information on the disease with family and friends.

•Ask for help. You can be overdoing it and not receiving the help that you need because you make things look too easy. It is OK to ask for help.  You may need to be very specific in your requests.

•Make time for yourself, not only for business but also for leisure. No matter how busy your schedule is, block out a period of time each week that is just for you.

•Join a support group sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association. The purpose of a support group is to provide an opportunity to meet regularly for mutual support and to exchange coping skills with others.

•Explore options for the future.  Planning is everything.  If you have noticed changes in your loved one, begin researching options now. You don’t want to put yourself in a crisis situation. The Alzheimer’s Association has lists of resources including: adult day care centers, in-home care providers, and long-term care facilities.

•Keep a sense of humor. Your attitude is your most important line of defense. Things will happen that you will be able to laugh about, if not now at least in the future.

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease is a life long commitment.  You don’t have to tackle these hurdles alone.  If you are looking for additional assistance, we at Hillandale Communities have answers to your questions. Our “Memory-Impaired Care As you’ve Never Seen It Before” provides exceptional care and supervision. We realize that a person with Alzheimer’s or other memory-impairment needs compassion, security and comfort.

Our advanced facilities are designed with multiple activity stations and seating areas to encourage independence. Socialization opportunities abound in a dignified home-like atmosphere that includes game areas, private dining, and even an ice cream parlor.

Call us today at (513) 777-1400 to ask questions, seek advice, or even take a tour of our facility.

Sources: The Alzheimer’s Association (800) 272-3900 or


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