Taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do as a caregiver. This could mean asking family members and friends to help out, doing things you enjoy, using adult day care services, or getting help from a local home health care agency. Taking these actions can bring you some relief. It also may help keep you from getting ill or depressed.
Everyone needs help at times. It's okay to ask for help and to take time for yourself. However, many caregivers find it hard to ask for help. You may feel:
If you have trouble asking for help, try using some of the tips below:
You may want to join a support group of AD caregivers in your area or on the Internet. These groups meet in person or online to share experiences and tips, and to give each other support. Ask your doctor, check online, or look in the phone book for a local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.
If you are a veteran or caring for one, the Veterans Administration might be of help to you. To learn more, visit its caregivers' website at www.caregiver.va.gov. You might also call its toll-free support line at 1-855-260-3274.
You also can call the Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center at no cost. The phone number is 1-800-438-4380. Visit on the Internet at www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers. For more information on how to get help, see "When You Need Help".
You may be busy caring for the person with AD and don't take time to think about your emotional health. But, you need to. Caring for a person with AD takes a lot of time and effort. Your job as caregiver can become even harder when the person you're caring for gets angry with you, hurts your feelings, or forgets who you are. Sometimes, you may feel really discouraged, sad, lonely, frustrated, confused, or angry. These feelings are normal.
"He has given me so much all my life, and now he can only take. Yet his presence now, as always, provides deep comfort to my soul. Now I give to him in every way I can. I realize that my giving to him is a result of his giving to me: emotional support, love, spiritual direction, wisdom, and advice."
Many of us have spiritual needs. Going to a church, temple, or mosque helps some people meet their spiritual needs. They like to be part of a faith community. For others, simply having a sense that larger forces are at work in the world helps meet their spiritual needs. As the caregiver of a person with AD, you may need more spiritual resources than others do.
"I feel lonely sometimes. I spend almost all of my time taking care of Mom. Going to church and being with friends helps me feel better."
Publication Date: July 2012
Page Last Updated: August 2, 2012