Caring for the Caregiver
Alzheimer’s care is a round-the-clock job. When you offer to help an Alzheimer’s caregiver, be specific – and gently persistent.
Caregivers of people who have Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias need all the support they can get. If you know someone who’s caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease, here’s how to help.
General offers of help can be hard for a caregiver to accept. If you want to support a friend who is caring for a loved one, make a concrete offer. For example:
- “I’m going to the grocery store. What can I pick up for you?”
- “I’ve got a couple of hours free tomorrow afternoon. May I sit in for you while you run errands or take time for yourself?”
- “I doubled my meatloaf recipe so that I could share it with you. I brought enough to last you for several meals.”
- “Do you need some laundry done? I can pick it up today and bring it back clean tomorrow.”
- “Does your yard need to be mowed? I’d be happy to take care of it this weekend.”
Sending a card or calling a caregiver can be a meaningful way to show support. Emails and text messages work, too — but often personal visits are even better. Contact with the outside world can help lift a caregiver’s spirits.
Not sure what to say? Consider offering that you know caregiving is hard and you will be there anytime the person wants to talk. Don’t assume the person wants tips, resources or advice on caregiving. Listen and offer comfort.
Recognize Signs of Caregiver Stress
Keep in mind that some caregivers have a difficult time accepting help, mistakenly believing they should do everything themselves. This attitude can be harmful not only to the caregiver but also to the person who has dementia. Caregiver stress can lead to irritability, anger, exhaustion, social withdrawal, anxiety, depression and other problems.
If your offers of help aren’t accepted, be patient but gently persistent. Remind the caregiver that he or she doesn’t have to do this alone — and the best way to take care of someone else is to first take care of yourself.
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Thank you so much for the loving care and compassion you showed to our mother and to us during her stay and death. We know, she was not the most compliant person, buy you showed her the same loving care no matter what. We were blessed to have her in your care. You are truly all angels. Thank you again!
I want to take the opportunity to thank you for the wonderful care you gave my dad the last 5 1/2 months of his life. If he couldn’t be at home with my mother, you were the next closest thing.
Thanks to the staff for your ongoing care of my Dad. Your patience, kindness and caring for Dad help my Mom and I rest easy knowing he is in good hands at all times. Thanks for everything you do for him!
Every time my family visits each week for their porch visit mom looks FABULOUS! You and your whole organization really understand what to do with the residents and I have seen an amazing change. You are a blessing to our family.
Thank you also for the very touching and beautiful memorial service and luncheon honoring Mom and Dad. It meant a lot to us to have all of you share your remembrances of them.
Marianne & family
We greatly appreciate all that you have done for my Dad and for us. Your compassion, dedication, and gentle ways were a tremendous help. No one ever said to us, “It will be okay,” instead you said “We’ll help you.”
Alzheimer’s and dementia are formidable foes and they strip the individuals stricken of all of their dignity, yet you and your staff work diligently to reinstate the dignity and you do it quite successfully.
This is to thank you and all the Kemper staff who organized the memorial service last Friday. The content was perfectly appropriate and many of the participants expressed compliments to the kitchen staff for the great luncheon.