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Alzheimer's Disease: Your Role as Caregiver

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease is a balancing act. You keep your loved one safe and comfortable, keep track of his medications and doctor’s appointments, and give him your love and support. But your life matters, too. It’s just as important to keep up with your work, family, and social life.

In your role as a caregiver, do what you can to bewell informed and prepared, and ask for help and support when you need it.

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Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease: What to Expect

A dementia diagnosis can be devastating -- not only for the person with the disease, but for those who love him, too. “There’s a grieving that occurs. You haven’t lost your loved one, but the person you know is going to change,” says Rosanne M. Leipzig, MD, professor of geriatric medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. If you or someone close to you has Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, here are six steps to help you deal with the disease now and in the future.

Read the Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease: What to Expect article > >

Know What to Expect

It helps to keep in mind how the disease affects people who have it. If you know what changes to expect, it can help you understand how your role may be different with time.

  • Alzheimer’s disease is different for everyone who has it. A person’s condition can change a lot. There may be times when your loved one seems pretty normal and can handle his usual activities. Other times, he may be very dependent. The way medications affect him also can vary. The changes can be confusing and may make your loved one seem demanding or dishonest. But it’s just a natural part of the disease.
  • Your loved one’s symptoms will get worse as years go by. While medicines can slow down this progress, they can’t stop it.
  • Depression is a part of Alzheimer's as well. It can make symptoms worse and change how well your loved one manages day to day. It’s important to know the signs he might be depressed and let his doctor know right away.
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