Help for Caregivers of People with Alzheimer’s
November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month. With nearly 6 million people in the U.S. living with Alzheimer’s, it is no coincidence that November is also National Family Caregivers month.
Alzheimer’s Disease affects approximately 1 in 10 people over the age of 65. However, the disease affects more than those who are afflicted with it. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 16 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. And, those caregivers provide an estimated 18.5 billion hours of care valued at nearly $234 billion.
Being a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s can be very stressful. Almost 60 percent of caregivers suffer from high emotional stress and 40 percent suffer from depression. Caregivers need to remember to take care of themselves. Here are some stress relief tips for caregivers.
- Get moving
Physical activity in any form can help reduce stress.
- Connect with other caregivers
You are not alone. Reach out and talk to other caregivers.
- Use relaxation techniques
Breathing, meditation, visualization – find what works best for you.
- Learn what to expect
Understanding the progression of Alzheimer’s and how to prepare helps ease anxiety and stress about the future.
- Take care of yourself
Find time for yourself and make sure to eat well and get regular sleep.
- Learn about community resources
Search for care resources in your area or contact your local Aging and Disability Resource Center.
Additional help for caregivers
Caregiver Action Network is a non-profit organization that provides education, peer support and resources to family caregivers across the U.S. free of charge. You can call 855-227-3640 or visit them online for help finding the information you need to navigate complex caregiving challenges.
Network Health plan members can find additional resources here – Caregiver Guide
How do you know if you or someone you know has Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. Symptoms usually develop slowly and steadily worsen over time. Here are 10 signs and symptoms that can serve as an early warning of the disease.
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks
- Confusion with time or place
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
- Decreased or poor judgment
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood and personality
If you notice any of the above symptoms in yourself or someone you know, do not ignore them. Set up an appointment with a personal doctor right away. Early detection gives you a better chance to benefit from treatment and make plans regarding the future.