According to the National Institute on Aging, "Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease can have high physical, emotional, and financial costs.
The demands of day-to-day care, changing family roles, and difficult decisions about placement in a care facility can be hard to handle. Researchers are learning a lot about Alzheimer’s caregiving, and studies are helping experts develop new ways to support caregivers.
Becoming well-informed about the disease is one important long-term strategy. Programs that teach families about the various stages of Alzheimer’s and about flexible and practical strategies for dealing with difficult caregiving situations provide vital help to those who care for people with Alzheimer’s.
Developing good coping skills and a strong support network of family and friends also are important ways that caregivers can help themselves handle the stresses of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. For example, staying physically active provides physical and emotional benefits.
Some Alzheimer’s caregivers have found that participating in a support group is a critical lifeline. These support groups allow caregivers to find respite, express concerns, share experiences, get tips, and receive emotional comfort.
The Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s Disease Centers, and many other organizations sponsor in-person and online support groups across the country. There are a growing number of groups for people in the early stage of Alzheimer’s and their families.
Support networks can be especially valuable when caregivers face the difficult decision of whether and when to place a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
For more information about at-home caregiving, see Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease: Your Easy-to-Use Guide from the National Institute on Aging at www.nia.nih.gov/Alzheimers/Publications/CaringAD."
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