Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia and it is a growing concern worldwide. In the United States, there are more than 5 million with Alzheimer’s and it is also the 6th leading cause of death in the US. One in three seniors die with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia in the US. Worldwide there is 46.8 million people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be very stressful and lead to a lower quality of life. 59% of family caregivers rated emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high. About 40% of family caregivers report symptoms of depression, compared to 5%-17% of non-caregivers. Caregiving can lead to isolation with 70% of caregivers reporting isolation due to fear of unpredictable behaviors.
So what can you do to deal with this stress and make caregiving for your loved one more manageable?
• The first thing to do is educate yourself as much as you can about the disease. Learn all the symptoms and different ways you can deal with the typical behaviors.
• Next, consider joining a support group to meet with and learn from others experiencing similar challenges. No one can understand what you are going through better than another caregiver.
• Finally, seek individual counseling if you are filling drained and without hope or with high levels of stress. Individual counseling can help with coping and stress management.