It is estimated that for every Alzheimer’s patient there are approximately three caretakers. This fact becomes a reason to worry about when you learn that 60 percent of Alzheimer’s caregivers reported higher-than-normal levels of stress and 40 percent admitted they struggle with depression.
In the U.S., there are over 5 million Alzheimer’s patients. Experts caution that Alzheimer’s rates are extremely high so anyone should be prepared to take care of or deal with an Alzheimer’s patient at some point throughout their lives.
Whitney Wharton, an Alzheimer’s disease expert at Emory University, explained that it is not enough to know how to care for such patients but it is necessary to know how to live with these persons as well.
Wharton noted that many caregivers fail to care for themselves which may explain the high incidence of stress and depression among this group. The expert added that many caregivers skip meals, give in to stress, and forget to exercise, citing lack of time.
Wharton said that taking care of our bodies is critical especially in the middle age. Experts caution that people spending too much time with an Alzheimer’s patient and failing to take care of themselves often end up getting depressed or resentful.
Medics recommend Alzheimer’s caregivers to care for themselves as much as they care for their loved ones stricken with the debilitating condition.
Another mistake that increases stress in both patients and caregivers is always correcting the patients’ narratives. Wharton explained that it is ok to let an Alzheimer’s sufferer believe that he or she had dinner with someone when they didn’t.
Caregivers should also prepare for the future when they learn that they may be forced to take care of an Alzheimer’s patient. For instance, they should plan the money that will be spent on the disease, choose an adult day care center, collaborate with the patient on making a will before it is too late, and so on.
Experts also said that another common mistake caretakers make is not to ask for help when they need it the most. If you have no family member to rely on there are countless support groups and experts that will be glad to help.
These people can give you precious tips and advice and the emotional support you need to cope with stress while caring for your loved ones.
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