Alzheimer's caregiving: How to ask for help
Alzheimer's caregiving isn't a one-person task — and friends and loved ones might be more willing to help than you'd think. Here's help reaching out.
By Mayo Clinic Staff
Alzheimer's caregiving is a tough job, and it's difficult for one person to handle alone. No one is equipped to care for another person 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you're caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer's disease, understand the stress you're facing — and know how to ask for help.
At first, you might be able to meet your loved one's needs yourself. This might last months or even years, depending on how quickly the disease progresses and your own mental and physical health. Eventually, however, your loved one will need more help with everyday tasks, such as eating, bathing and toileting.
And just as the physical demands of caregiving increase, so can the emotional toll. Challenging dementia-related behaviors can strain the coping skills of even the most patient and understanding caregiver.
The sustained stress of caregiving also can weaken your immune system. You might eat and sleep poorly and have trouble setting aside time for yourself. Caregiving might also increase your risk of depression. Before you know it, you're so busy caring for your loved one that you could drift away from your family and friends — at a time when you need them the most.
Feb. 21, 2017
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- Taking care of you: Self-care for family caregivers. Family Caregiver Alliance. https://www.caregiver.org/taking-care-you-self-care-family-caregivers. Accessed Jan. 10, 2017.
- Tips and resources for caregivers. U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service. https://www.medicare.gov/campaigns/caregiver/caregiver.html. Accessed Jan. 10, 2017.
- Middle-stage caregiving. Alzheimer's Association. https://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-mid-moderate-stage-caregiving.asp. Accessed Jan. 10, 2017.