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10 Tips For Caregivers

When it comes to caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease, there's no one-size-fits-all prescription.

Throughout the course of the disease, caregiver duties range from personal care chores to dealing with financial decisions.

A total of 44 million Americans provide care for an elderly or disabled spouse or relative. Too often, they risk neglecting their own health and well-being.

Nancy Carrick, program director for the Alzheimer's Association Greater Iowa Chapter, offers these warning signs of caregiver stress:

  • Denial about the disease and its impact on your loved one.
  • Anger toward the person with the disease or others.
  • Withdrawal from former friends and activities.
  • Anxiety about the future.
  • Depression that affects your spirit and ability to cope.
  • Exhaustion that severely impacts daily tasks.
  • Sleeplessness caused by endless worries.
  • Irritability leading to moodiness and negative actions.
  • Lack of concentration that curtails daily tasks.
  • Health problems exacting an emotional and physical toll.

Carrick suggests 10 tips for coping:

  1. Recognize how the disease affects the person early on.
  2. Know available community resources.
  3. Learn as much as possible about Alzheimer's disease.
  4. Ask for help from family, friends, or the Alzheimer's Association 24-7 helpline.
  5. Care for yourself and your health.
  6. Manage stress using relaxation techniques that work for you.
  7. Accept changes as they occur.
  8. Plan ahead by making financial and legal plans.
  9. Remember to give yourself credit and avoid guilt-trips.
  10. Schedule regular physical checkups.

For more, visit www.ruralcare.info.

When it comes to caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease, there's no one-size-fits-all prescription.

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