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Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease is physically, emotionally, and financially challenging . The demands of day-to-day care, changing family roles, and difficult decisions about placement in a care facility can be hard to handle. Researchers have learned much about Alzheimer’s caregiving, and studies are testing new ways to support caregivers.
Becoming well-informed about the disease is one important long-term strategy. Programs that teach families about the various stages of Alzheimer’s and about flexible and practical strategies for dealing with difficult caregiving situations provide vital help to those who care for people with Alzheimer’s.
Good coping skills and a strong support network of family and friends also help caregivers handle the stresses of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. For example, staying physically active has physical and emotional benefits.
Some Alzheimer’s caregivers have found that participating in a support group is a critical lifeline. Support groups allow caregivers to take a break, express concerns, share experiences, get tips, and receive emotional comfort. Many organizations sponsor in-person and online support groups , including groups for people with early-stage Alzheimer’s and their families. Support networks can be especially valuable when caregivers face the difficult decision of whether and when to place a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
For more information about at-home caregiving, see Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease: Your Easy-to-Use Guide from the National Institute on Aging.
The Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer's Caregiver Health (REACH) trials, funded by NIA and the National Institute for Nursing Research tested strategies for helping dementia caregivers manage their stress and emotional burden. The interventions included education on dementia, training in specific caregiving skills, and encouragement and techniques for physical and emotional self-care. The REACH findings are now being put into practice through two Federal agencies, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Administration on Aging (AoA). Learn more about REACH »