Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or other dementias is exceptionally demanding, and especially challenging. The caregiving needs of people living with Alzheimer’s are not only often more extensive, but are often needed over many years—even decades.
A recent survey by the Alzheimer’s Association indicates many caregivers are not getting the help and support they need—a whopping 84 percent of caregivers say they would like more support in caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, especially from family members.
“Too many people are shouldering the caregiving burden alone,” says Ruth Drew, director of information and support services at the Alzheimer’s Association. “Many people want or would welcome help, but they are reluctant or just too overwhelmed to ask.”
Tips for supporting a caregiver
Providing help and support to caregivers can be easier than most people think. Even little acts can make a big difference, Drew says. The Alzheimer’s Association offers these suggestions:
Learn: Educate yourself about Alzheimer’s disease —its symptoms, its progression and the common challenges facing caregivers. The more you know, the easier it will be to find ways to help.
Build a team: Organize family and friends who want to help with caregiving. The Alzheimer’s Association Care Team Calendar is a free, personalized online tool that allows helpers to sign up for specific tasks, such as preparing meals, providing rides or running errands.