People with the condition often need help for decades, rather than a few months or years, says Mary Guerriero Austrom, PhD, an expert on caregivers and Alzheimer's disease at the Indiana University School of Medicine. They also need more and more help with basic needs over time.
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When Sue Dietz noticed her mother's dementia worsening, she began spending every day at her parents' house near Pittsburgh — making sure her mom was eating properly and taking medications. But the schedule became too much when Dietz's daughter in North Carolina had a baby. "It wasn't fair to my daughter that I couldn't be with her when she needed me, too," says Dietz, 56. Although...
Talk to a doctor if you think you're getting burned out, Austrom says. Your own doctor may be able to help, and so might the one who’s treating the person you’re caring for.
Go Easy on Your Loved One and Yourself
Resist the urge to correct your loved one's behaviors or word choices, says Marsha Lewis, PhD, dean of the School of Nursing at the University at Buffalo.
Try not to argue with him, even when you know his point of view isn't correct. Trying to be "right" takes time and adds needless stress to your life.
Also, don't try to be the perfect caregiver.
"Most healthy older adults, when asked about their preferences for care if they can no longer care for themselves, say, 'I wouldn't want to be a burden on my children,'" Austrom says. Your parent, spouse, or other loved one with the disease likely wouldn't want you to wear yourself out. So know your limits and try not to push past them.
You're less likely to burn out if you share caregiving tasks with other people, Austrom says.