Tips for the Caregiver of an Alzheimer’s Patient

Caring for a loved one with alzheimer’s disease can be rewarding and a life changing experience.  It can also be the most difficult of tasks and can take a serious toll on the mental and physical well-being of the caregiver.  Current statistics show that almost 10 million Americans are caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.  According to a new study conducted at New York University School of Medicine, counseling and support is not only good for easing stress in those caring for loved ones with this disease, it may also boost physical health. Dr. Mittelman, Research Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at New York University states that those caregivers who have poor physical health are more likely to have difficulty providing appropriate care for their loved ones. 

As a caregiver, how many times have you heard yourself or others say “I’m alone and nobody can help”?  Caregiver burnout intensifies when it appears as though no one understands what you are going through.  Signs to watch for caregiver burnout are as follows….

1)   You begin to curtail visits and phone calls with close friends.

2)   You have given up hobbies and activities that you have enjoyed for years.

3)   You are developing stress-related problems such as back pain, headaches, chronic feelings of fatigue and depression.

4)   You are coming down with colds, flu and other illnesses more than usual.

5)   You have a short temper.  You find you’re getting mad in the checkout line at the grocery store, in traffic, and at friends and family.

6)   You have outbursts of anger at your loved one with Alzheimer’s when he or she behaves erratically or becomes difficult.

7)   You have gained or lost weight unintentionally.

8)   You have an unshakable feeling of despair or pessimism.

9)   You are crying “for no reason” or over minor problems.

10) You complain about lack of sleep or chronic insomnia.

 

A targeted program of counseling and support services can ease depression, sadness, burnout, stress and isolation while caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia.  Therefore, encouraging ongoing support for caregivers to join groups or counseling can help preserve their health as well as ease stress. 

Support groups are made up of caregivers, family members and friends of persons who have memory loss or who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.  Support groups offer emotional support and information as well as provide a safe

 and positive setting to express fears and concerns, and to share experiences.  Arden Courts is pleased to offer a directed discussion group with Dr. Bill Beckwith, Clinical Psychologist.  This group meets on the third Thursday of each month at 3:00 pm in Naples.   It is free and open to the public with adult day care services onsite.  For additional support group information in Naples, please contact the Alzheimer’s Support Network at 239-262-8388.

This group also meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 2:00p.m. at Arden Courts in Ft. Myers.  For additional support group information in Ft. Myers, please contact the Alvin A. Dubin Alzheimer’s Resource Center at 239-437-3007.

Arden Courts is an assisted living community dedicated to caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other related dementias. Arden Courts is part of HCR-ManorCare which has been named by Fortune Magazine’s Most Admired Companies in Healthcare in 2007 and 2008.  The Most Admired list is the definitive report card on corporate reputations. HCR-ManorCare continues to be a strong and stable company dedicated to providing your loved one with the highest quality in health care services.    

Arden Courts of Lely Palms is located at 6125 Rattlesnake Hammock Road Naples, Florida 34113.  For more information on the support group or additional Alzheimer’s resource information please contact Michelle Serigne at 239-417-8511.  Arden Courts Fort Myers is located at 15950 McGregor Blvd Ft. Myers, Florida 33908.  For more information on the support group or additional Alzheimer’s resource information please contact Karla LaFreniere at 239-434-1277.