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Children Caring for Parents
If you are fortunate to have older parents, you may find yourself in the role of caregiver one day if not now. Aging happens to the “blessed of us.” Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia among older adults. Caring for a parent or loved one with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia can be taxing. Often the caregiver will require support.
Being there to witness the mental changes to your loved one’s final days, caregivers will likely experience changing emotions, exhaustion, and even strained relationships as a result of intensive caregiving. There are many warning signs for caregivers who might be burning out, they include:
Caregiver Burnout Symptoms:
- Constant stress and tension
- Anxiety, anger or guilt
- Irritability or anger with the patient
- Excessive use of medications, drugs or alcohol
Ask any social worker, nurse, or stay-at-home parent, full-time caregiving is hard work, you must preserve your sanity. There are several strategies to consider to help you do just that, they include:
Caregiver Preservation Strategies:
- Take time to play. As much as possible, include your loved one in short walks, board games, etc. Laughter is good medicine.
- Try something new. Consider learning a new skill while you are “on the job.” Study a foreign language, begin blogging, use your own mental muscle and you’ll see a personal change in yourself.
- Ask for help. For the independent Type-A personalities, caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease can be a real lesson. Reach out to your friends, colleagues, online groups, etc. Never suffer in silence.
As many as 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. While younger people may get Alzheimer’s disease, it is much less common. The disease usually begins after age 60, and risk goes up with age. About 5 percent of men and women ages 65 to 74 have Alzheimer’s disease, and nearly half of those age 85 and older may have the disease. It is important to note, however, that Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. Get the facts and learn all you can if you or someone you know has the disease.