Usually when a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s the responsibility of caring for that person is taken by somebody in the family. But does anybody ever asked who is taking care of the caregivers?
Caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s is a great responsibility and it is also a major source of stress. Seeing somebody you love how they disappear easily, how they transform in somebody you don’t know anymore and who doesn’t know you any more is very hurtful and soliciting as the emotional pain is increasing day after day.
Despite all the stress the person dealing with the sick person has to keep their calm and patience which is not an easy task. Alzheimer’s patients tend to ask the same thing over and over again, to misplace objects, to forget names, tasks, addresses and even forget the existence of the loved ones. All of these can be major factors of stress for the caretakers.
Stress can lead to severe health problems such as diabetes or Parkinson’s. According to the U.S. Alzheimer’s Association about 40 percent of the caregivers suffer from depression. Many of them also develop eating disorders which can lead to severe weight loss or gain. Besides that the physical and emotional exhaustion can lead to sleeping issues.
It is common for caregivers to even postpone their own medical procedures out of fear that they are not going to be able to care for their loved ones and themselves at the same time.
Despite their efforts to avoid illness, many caregivers are usually victims of increased stress and exhaustion which might incapacitate them to take care of the loved one with Alzheimer’s. This inability can create even more stress so it gets to a vicious cycle which can be very hard to break.
This is why doctors recommend caregivers to remember to take time for themselves. They are advised to take breaks, to exercise, try to eat well and even take medication that might help relieve the stress.
Besides all of these, they should always remember to make time for their annual health check-ups. But one of the best things they can do is join a support group where they will meet people who are feeling the same as they do and who understand better than anyone else what they are going through.
So if you are a caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer’s remember that in order to be able to take care of another person you have to take care of yourself.
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