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Helping a Dementia Caregiver

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or other dementia is a 24/7 job. Dementia Caregivers need help and support. If someone in your life is caring for a parent or spouse with Alzheimer’s, here are some ways you can be there for them.

Look for signs of caregiver stress

Many people who have taken on a caregiver role believe they have to be responsible for everything and have difficulty accepting help. This is dangerous for both the caregiver and the person they are caring for. Caring for someone with dementia can create very high levels of stress, which can lead to social withdrawal, anxiety, depression, anger, exhaustion and other problems.

Offer something specific

When someone says “Let me know if I can help” you will probably never take them up on their offer. It’s a nice thought, but the offer is vague and puts the pressure on the person who needs help. Suggest a specific task or kind of assistance instead.

Examples…

  • “I have tomorrow morning off. Could I take over for you so you can run some errands or have a few hours to yourself?”
  • “I made an extra lasagna last night so you could have one, too.”
  • “It looks like your lawn needs moving. Could I come by on Sunday and take care of that?”
  • “What can I grab for you when I’m at the grocery store this afternoon?”
  • “Do you need any laundry done? I could do a few loads tonight and bring it back tomorrow.”

If they don’t want to accept your help, be persistent. Keep offering, and regularly remind them that they don’t have to go through this alone.

Let them know you care

Make sure to check in regularly to remind the caregiver how much you care. Send a card, give them a call, or send an email. Visit them at home to help give them some connections to the outside world. Even a few minutes of contact can help lift their spirits.

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