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Alzheimer's Disease: Your Role as Caregiver

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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.

Recommended Related to Alzheimer's

Sundowning

Sundowning, or sundown syndrome, affects some people who have Alzheimer's disease and dementia. People with dementia who "sundown" get confused and agitated as the sun goes down -- and sometimes through the night. Sundowning may prevent people with dementia from sleeping well. It may also make them more likely to wander. Due to the stress it puts on caregivers, sundowning is a common cause of caregiver burnout.

Read the Sundowning 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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