Alzheimer’s Disease continues to place a burden on governments and health care systems. However, many people fail to recognize the impact on spouses and family members who are often the first line of support and caregivers for Alzheimer’s patients.
Alzheimer’s caregivers are often family members who provide in-home care for approximately 70 percent of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. With an aging population this means that the primary Alzheimer’s caregiver is quite often an elderly spouse with their own medical problems.
Alzheimer’s caregivers are subjected to enormous amounts of stress brought on largely by the demands associated with caring for an Alzheimer’s patient. Caregivers often fail to take time for themselves and caring for their loved one as a duty.
Many people who find themselves in the role of being an Alzheimer’s caregiver lack both the knowledge and training required to care for a person who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Quite often the Alzheimer’s caregiver does not know how to respond to behavioural changes associated with Alzheimer’s.
Local Alzheimer’s associations will often have support groups and will provide training for those who find themselves in the role of Alzheimer’s caregiver as well as information on various government programs available to assist in the caring of the Alzheimer’s patient. These support groups are filled with people who know what to expect of this brain disease and willing to provide assistance to the Alzheimer’s caregiver.
Being an Alzheimer’s caregiver often means putting ones life on hold but as a family member it is important to realize that having a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is nothing shameful. Asking for help is okay and is not an indication of failure as an Alzheimer’s caregiver.