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Help for Caregivers: Dementia & Alzheimer's - Aging Wisely

There are nearly 15 million Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers providing 17 billion hours of unpaid care valued at $202 billion in the U.S.  


More than 60 percent of family caregivers report high levels of stress because of the prolonged duration of caregiving and 33 percent report symptoms of depression

Even though Alzheimer’s caregiving can be emotionally and physically draining, there are resources to help.  However, as a caregiver it can be overwhelming to find those resources and navigate through them. 

Respite care is one option to give caregivers a break, whether during the day to get errands done, at night to get some sleep or for an extended period such as a vacation.  Many caregivers tell us that the stress of preparing and worries about how the situation will unfold keeps them from seeking respite care.  If you feel this way, you may benefit from reading EasyLiving’s Vacations for Caregivers: Are they Possible?, which provides tips for locating and preparing for respite care to go smoothly.

Since dementia is a progressive disease, a person’s caregiving needs will change over time.  This makes preparation vital.  Here are a few Alzheimer’s care preparation tips:

  • Read up on the disease process.  The 36-hour Day is a seminal work on Alzheimer’s Disease care.  Our dementia overview is a quick way to get familiar with the terminology, and we also offer articles on issues like Sundowner’s Syndrome and Paying for Long-Term Care.
  • Ensure your loved one has completed essential legal documents.  These must be completed while the person has legal capacity.  In early stages of the disease, the person typically has this capability but often will not as things progress.  Plan an appointment with a local elder law attorney.
  • Make contact with your local Alzheimer’s Association and Area Agency on Aging to find out about services available in your area.  Consider joining a support group.
  • Schedule a care management consultation to identify solutions for current concerns, priorities and resources to help in the near future.
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