When your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, many questions come to mind. First is the question “Is there a cure?” Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are drugs that may improve or stabilize symptoms. In addition, there are care strategies that may minimize or prevent behavioral problems. Learning more about these treatments and knowing what questions to ask your care recipient’s doctor can help you through this difficult and confusing time.
New drugs are under development that offer hope for Alzheimer’s patients, and clinical trials test whether these treatments are safe and effective. Your loved one’s physician will give you more information about treatment options and clinical trials that may be right for your loved one. You can also find out more on the Internet. The resources listed in this article are a great place to start.
Coping with Caregiving–
Take a minute. Sit down . As a family caregiver of someone with Alzheimer’s disease, you have a lot on your plate. There’s so much to learn about, so much to plan, so much to worry about. But you need to read this guide—not only for the person you’re caring for, but for yourself.
Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is a stressful job. It’s an emotional roller coaster of love, hope, anger, guilt, loneliness, and sadness. You will have to make tough decisions and consider questions you’ve never thought about before: What are my responsibilities toward my parent? How can I take Mom or Dad out of their home of 50 years? What does it mean to be in a marriage “in sickness and in health”? How can I balance my relationship with my loved one with the other relationships in my life?
Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s changes your life. In fact, caring for someone with a dementing disease such as Alzheimer’s is typically more stressful than caring for someone with only a physical impairment. Many family caregivers—up to 47 percent, according to one study—experience depression. And many caregivers become overwhelmed by the strain of caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease and experience stress, illness, sleep deprivation, premature aging, and depression. In fact, a study of caregiver health revealed that elderly spousal caregivers who experienced caregiver strain had a mortality risk that was 63 percent higher than that of control subjects. You will need help keeping yourself whole as your loved one needs more and more from you.
But you are not alone . Help is available—right in your own community. Keep reading about some of the issues you will face as a caregiver and where you can find help.
10 Signs of Caregiver Stress–
Be aware of the Alzheimer’s Association’s “10 Signs of Caregiver Stress,” and talk to your own physician if you experience any of these:
- Denial about the disease and its effect on the person who’s been diagnosed
- Anger at the person with Alzheimer’s or others, anger that no cure exists, and anger that people don’t understand what’s going on
- Social withdrawal from friends and activities that once brought pleasure
- Anxiety about facing another day and what the future hold
- Depression that begins to break your spirit and affects your ability to cope
- Exhaustion that makes it nearly impossible to complete necessary daily tasks
- Sleeplessness caused by a never-ending list of concerns
- Irritability that leads to moodiness and triggers negative responses and reactions
- Lack of concentration that makes it difficult to perform familiar tasks
- Health problems that begin to take their toll, both mentally and physically