How can I relieve stress if I am a caregiver for a loved one with dementia?

If you feel overwhelmed by your loved one's dementia, one of the most important things to remember is that you are not alone in this! Dementia affects lots of families, and many other people are going through the same thing as you. There are support groups and organizations that understand what you and your family are going through. They are there to help you all cope with your loved one's dementia. It can become hard to manage people with dementia at home, and they may need extra care, which is why nursing homes exist! Nursing homes are a great way for your loved one to get the care he or she needs. It also means less worry and stress for the family.

The greatest gift to someone who cares for a loved one with dementia: time. Ask a family member, friend, or healthcare professional to keep your loved one company so you can relish some respite. Take time for some shopping, a walk in the park, checkers with an old friend, or whatever present you want to give yourself.

Dr. Helen Lavretsky, MD
To relieve the stress that comes with being a caregiver for a loved one with dementia, do the following:
  • Seek out community resources. Those could be adult day care, in-home assistance or visiting nurses. Inquire at your local library and hospital.
  • Register with your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter's Safe Return program for the safety of your care recipients.
  • Seek out local Alzheimer’s Association support groups in your area.
  • Ask for help from family members and friends.
  • Attend to your own health, which is of most importance.
  • Plan ahead for future legal and financial issues.
  • Attend to your own advance planning in case you might die before your care recipient.
  • Create strategies for handling medical emergencies that do not rely on the individual with dementia.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.