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Alzheimer's: How to Help a Caregiver

Alzheimer's caregivers need all the support they can get. If you know someone who cares about a loved one with Alzheimer's disease, you can do the following.

Be specific.

General assistance can be difficult for caregivers to accept as they are not specific. If you want to support a friend who takes care of a loved one, make a concrete offer. For example:

  • "I go to the grocery store, what can I pick up for you?"
  • "I have a couple of hours tomorrow afternoon, can I work for you while running, errands or time for yourself?"
  • "I've doubled my recipe for meatloaf so I could share it with you. I have given you enough time for several meals. "
  • " Do you need to wash your clothes? I can pick it up today and clean it up tomorrow. "
  • " Does your garden need to be mowed? like to take care of it this weekend. "

Check in.

Calling a card or nurse call can be a useful way to show support. E-mails and text messages also work – but personal visits are even better. Contact with the outside world can help lift the spirit of a carer.

Recognize signs of caregiving stress.

Remember that some caregivers have difficulty accepting help, and mistakenly believe they have to do it all themselves. This attitude can be harmful not only to the caregiver, but also to the person having Alzheimer's. Caregiving stress can cause irritability, anger, fatigue, social withdrawal, anxiety, depression and other problems.

If your offers of help are not accepted, be persistently persistent. Remind the supervisor that he does not have to do it alone – and the best way to take care of someone else is to look after yourself first.

Updated: 2015-07-09

Release date: 2000-03-21

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