Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease that affects 5.5 million people of all ages in the United States. Along with the diagnosis and reality of living with this disease, the families of these patients are now left with the question, “how will we take care of our loved one?” For many families, the option is having a designated person take care of the patient on their own. A caregiver is someone that assists with the daily needs of another person. There can be a “formal” caregiver, considered a paid person along with training, and an “informal” caregiver is a family or friend who provides care without pay. It can be a challenge for informal caregivers, especially with no training. Around 65.7 million people in the United States are informal caregivers. With that large of a statistic affecting a specific population, there are always great tips that can be provided.
Asking For Help
Taking care of someone with Alzheimer’s can be challenging. If it becomes too difficult for a caregiver, sometimes they feel guilty in asking for help. If taking care of someone becomes too emotionally and physically draining, there’s no shame in asking for help or even hiring someone to come in and help. The most important thing is making sure that your loved ones can get the best care they can get.
Studies show that caregivers who stay in touch with their families and friends have better emotional health than those who feel isolated. Reaching out to express your feelings about being a caregiver and the challenges that come with it can help relieve stress. Staying in contact with other family members and keeping them updated on their loved ones allows them to step in and support when needed.
Making Your Health A Priority
Caregivers, along with the patient, must make sure their health is a priority. Without the caregiver in good health, they wouldn’t be able to provide the optimum care the patient needs. Along with regular check-ups, making sure you get yearly Flu shots, testing, and staying active is important. Being a caregiver can be physically demanding, and your health is just as important as the Alzheimer’s patient’s health.
Participate in Research for Alzheimer’s
There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, but there are clinical studies that the patient and caregiver can participate in. Since the caregiver needs to assist the patient with all that comes with being in a study, both the caregiver and the patient would receive a stipend. The more participants in Alzheimer’s studies, the more research is done, getting us closer to a cure! For more information on our currently enrolling Alzheimer’s disease studies, give our office a call.