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Alzheimer's caregiving: How to ask for help
Alzheimer's caregiving isn't a one-person task — and friends and loved ones may 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 too much 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 may be able to meet your loved one's needs yourself. This may 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 Alzheimer's caregiving increase, so can the emotional toll. Challenging dementia-related behaviors can strain the coping skills of even the most patient and understanding Alzheimer's caregiver.
In addition, the sustained stress of Alzheimer's caregiving can affect your own health. The physical and emotional demands of caregiving may weaken your immune system, leaving you more likely to get sick and stay sick longer. You may sleep poorly and have trouble setting aside time for yourself. Alzheimer's caregiving may also increase your risk of depression. Before you know it, you may drift away from your family and friends — at a time when you need them the most.Next page
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- Sussman T, et al. The influence of community-based services on the burden of spouses caring for their partners with dementia. Health and Social Work. 2009;34:29.
- Dang S, et al. The dementia caregiver — A primary care approach. Southern Medical Association. 2008;101:1246.