June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Behind the 6 million Americans currently living with Alzheimer’s disease are millions of family members and friends whose lives are affected by the degenerative brain disease.
According to research from the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 11 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer's or other dementias. Caregivers of people with dementia report providing 27 hours more care per month on average than caregivers of people without dementia — and the chronic stress of caregiving often takes a toll on their own physical and mental health.
- 59% of caregivers rated the emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high.
- 74% of caregivers reported that they were “somewhat concerned” to “very concerned” about maintaining their own health since becoming a caregiver.
Are you or someone you know caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s? Here are four things you can do to ensure you are taking care of yourself at the same time:
- Make time for self-care. It may have become second nature for you to care for others, but are you taking care of yourself? Prioritize your own physical and mental health.
- Join a support group. Research shows that support groups can have a beneficial effect on a caregiver’s ability to cope, can increase knowledge, and reduce depressive symptoms.
- Consider respite care. Want to take a vacation or need some time for yourself? Respite care provides temporary care for your loved one, so you can go on that trip without having to worry about your caregiving responsibilities.
- Seek professional help. Providing the best care for someone with Alzheimer’s is no easy task. Heard about a new drug or clinical trial and not sure how to access it? Want to stay updated on the latest research but don’t have time? Worried your home isn’t safe for your loved one? Unsure what your insurance covers? If you have questions like these, consider reaching out to an expert health advisor.
Before founding Better Health Advisors, John Samuels created numerous state-of the art programs for people with Alzheimer’s disease living in nursing homes. By developing environments and activities tailored to their unique needs and implementing best care practices, he helped improve the lives of countless people with Alzheimer’s. John and the BHA team work with patients and families affected by Alzheimer’s. If someone you love is living with Alzheimer’s, contact us to learn how BHA can help.