SUNY Downstate Medical Center
Center of Excellence for Alzheimer's Disease
Taking Care of the Caregiver
Caregiver is anyone who provides help to another person in need. A caregiver can be a doctor, nurse, professionally trained aid, friends or family. Caregivers are more likely to have high levels of stress hormones, inhibited immune system, slow wound healing, hyper tension and coronary heart disease.
As a caregiver, you experience many stressors when dealing with individuals with Alzheimer's disease especially when it is a loved one. Many describe their experience as stressful and frustrating, classifying this as caregiver burden. These feelings can have a long term effect on the caregiver resulting in depression, decreased quality of life, physical illness, etc. This not only affects the caregiver but the quality of care the caregiver is providing for the person with AD.
In order to help the caregiver cope and deal with the stressors of being a caregiver, there are different exercises and diets that are helpful; certain recommendations are as follows: yoga, meditating, eating more mindfully, and taking in less caffeine.
There are also interventions and support groups. The interventions are designed to educate the caregiver and support them as they are caring for a person with AD. These interventions provide tools to manage the care of the individual making it easier for the caregiver. Support groups are designed to allow the caregiver to vent and share their experiences with other caregivers, letting them know that they may feel alone but they are NOT alone. As well as stress management and taking time for you helps a caregiver cope with Caregiver Burden.
Resources for Caregivers
- The Centers for Disease Control on Caregiving: