The challenges of caring for someone with Alzheimer's

Caring for an older loved one is never easy, but caring for someone with Alzheimer’s presents special challenges. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that 40% of these caregivers suffer a “high” level of emotional stress. And according to a study published by The Journal of Immunology, caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can actually shorten a caregiver's life by up to 8 years!

The truth is that individuals with Alzheimer’s are extremely difficult to care for. Seeing someone you love slowly slip away takes an incredible emotional toll.

Given the seriousness of symptoms like memory loss, wandering and hallucination, people with Alzheimer’s often require “around the clock” care. They cannot be left alone for a minute. And most family caregivers who try to provide this level of 24/7 care eventually feel overwhelmed and exhausted.

Dr. Kathy Johnson, PhD, CMC, Certified Geriatric Care Manager and Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Home Care Assistance offers the following suggestions to those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s:

1. Contact the Alzheimer's Association or your local senior center. Both will help you find the appropriate resources and support groups to join.

2. Arrange for respite care. Do not hesitate to call relatives, neighbors or friends and ask for help. Put together a weekly schedule of people you trust. This will allow you the time you need to run errands, buy groceries, or take a few hours off from caregiving. Home care agencies like Home Care Assistance are experts when it comes to respite care. Whether you need a caregiver for a few hours or 24/7, we are there for you.

3. Research Adult Day Care Centers. These are daily programs that typically run from 9am-4pm. Families will drop off their loved one for the day, knowing they are in a safe, professional environment.

4. Hire a Geriatric Care Manager. Visit www.caremanager.org for a list of care managers in your area. These professionals will coordinate all the services you need. As a result, your stress level will be reduced and your loved one will have your full attention.

5. Read a book, medical journal or go online. The more you know about Alzheimer’s the better. Those who are highly informed on this disease will make smarter decisions when it comes to caregiving.


Home Care Assistance offers the highest quality 24/7 live-in home care in the Region of Halton (Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills, and Milton), Region of Peel (Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon), Hamilton and surrounding areas.

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