POV: Four strategies for caregivers

Take a break. When stress levels get too high or you’re reaching your physical limits, consider professional help. There are a variety of new choices available. For example, there’s respite care, a program that allows your loved one to stay in an assisted living community for a weekend or even a multi-week stay so you can take a break. Another option is adult day stay, a program available through assisted living communities or non-profit organizations that takes care of seniors during traditional business hours and can be utilized on a full- or part-time basis or just occasionally. Or you can simply hire someone to come in on a regular basis to provide some extra personal care for your loved one or to simply help with housecleaning and other daily chores.

Choosing to personally care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be a noble responsibility to take on, but it is also one that requires a marathoner’s mentality. If you try to do this at a sprint without the requisite support and personal care you need, you won’t be able to complete the journey—or you’ll end up limping along while suffering both emotional and physical pain. Find ways to take care of yourself along the way. You and your loved one will both be better off for your efforts.

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