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Alzheimer's Caregivers May Be at Risk for Dementia

Stress and Shared Lifestyle May Raise Risk of Mental Decline for Spouses Who Are Also Caregivers

Taking Care of Caregivers continued...

The other thing he recommends to his patients who are caregivers is taking time for "uplifts" or pleasant events, like golf, gardening, and movies. He recommends that caregivers stop and think about hobbies or friends that they may not have seen in a while and actually set aside time for them in a planned schedule.

"This pleasant event schedule makes tremendous common sense," Vitaliano says, "And it's the kind of stuff my grandmother would have said 'you needed to get a PhD to know that?' But it's incredible how people lose what's right in front of their face when they're facing adversity."

Other kinds of support need to come from the government and community, experts say, given that 14.9 million adults in the U. S. now take care of a loved one with Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

Doctors can help, Eskenazi says, just by taken a moment to switch focus.

"Caregiver health is hidden, and it really is because a doctor never asks, 'How are you?'" she says.


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