The Alzheimer’s care journey requires a team or village approach. We cannot care for our loved ones by ourselves. The stress of day-to-day care, watching your loved one’s health deteriorate, and having to make difficult decisions about long-term care can leave anyone feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. No matter how strong and resilient you are, you’re still likely to have problems with certain aspects of Alzheimer’s or dementia care.
Recognizing the signs of caregiver stress and burnout is the first step to dealing with the problem. If you experience any of these signs of stress on a regular basis, contact me and consider attending my monthly Friends and Family Support Group.
The warning signs include:
Denial about the disease and its effect on the person who has been diagnosed. “I know Mom is going to get better.”
Anger at the person with Alzheimer’s, anger that no cure exists, or anger that people don’t understand what’s happening. “If he asks me that one more time I’ll scream!”
Social withdrawal from friends and activities that once brought pleasure. “I don’t care about getting together with the neighbors anymore.”
Anxiety about the future. “What happens when he needs more care than I can provide?”
Depression that begins to break your spirit and affects your ability to cope. “I don’t care anymore.”
Exhaustion that makes it nearly impossible to complete necessary daily tasks. “I’m too tired for this.”
Sleeplessness caused by a never-ending list of concerns. “What if she wanders out of the house or falls and hurts herself?”
Irritability that leads to moodiness and triggers negative responses and actions. “Leave me alone!”
Lack of concentration that makes it difficult to perform familiar tasks. “I was so busy, I forgot we had an appointment.”
Health problems that begin to take a mental and physical toll. “I can’t remember the last time I felt good.”