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Alzheimer's Disease Health Center

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Are You at Risk for Caregiver Burnout?

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Consider these options:

Ask friends and family to help. Some caregivers use online calendars so the people in their lives can easily sign up to handle tasks. The Alzheimer's Association offers a "care team calendar" on its web site.

You can also use Facebook or other social media to bring your circle of family and friends together.

Enroll your loved one in an adult day care program for people with Alzheimer's. He can visit with others while you enjoy a few hours to run errands or simply relax.

Find other care for a few weeks. Your loved one may be able to stay for a week or two at a long-term care facility. That will give you a break. Austrom says she’s heard caregivers say these breaks helped them relax and feel more able to handle their loved ones’ needs.

Share some tasks with a home health aide. If you hire someone part time, she can drop in and help with some of the caregiving tasks.

Contact your Area Agency on Aging. The agency can point you toward other resources that may be able to help. These resources include adult day cares and home health services. You can find your agency's contact number through the web sites of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging or the U.S. Administration on Aging.

Talk to Other Caregivers

Make time to visit a support group for caregivers in your area. You may learn ways to feel less stress while you care for your loved one. You'll also see how other caregivers are dealing with their own challenges, Austrom says.

You can also try an online support group. The Alzheimer's Association, for example, hosts an online community group.

Protect Your Own Health

"Sometimes caregivers, in their zeal to care for their loved ones, will stop taking care of themselves," Austrom says.

They can become sick and tired, leaving them even less able to handle their caregiving tasks.

Take these steps to make sure you stay healthy:

  • See your doctor on a regular basis.
  • Keep your prescriptions filled and take them as prescribed.
  • Exercise daily, even if it's just a 20-minute walk.
  • Get enough sleep.

You may also want to consider talking to a counselor about the stress and emotions you feel as you help your loved one face Alzheimer's.

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