Mental Health

Both caregiver and Alzheimer’s patient can suffer from mental health issues. Here’s what you need to know to stay strong.

Put self-care above guilt

Put self-care above guilt

Managing finances and appointments; dealing with a partner’s personality changes; skipping sleep to keep tabs on a parent who wanders.

Those who are caring for people with Alzheimer’s are responsible for many tasks, and balancing them all can lead to chronic stress.

According to a report by the Family Caregiver Alliance, over time chronic stress can cause declines in caregivers’ physical and mental health. The report found that as a loved one’s health declines, so too does their caregivers’.

Those caring for spouses are most likely to be affected. According to the report, only a quarter of spouses rated their health “good” or “very good.”

Caregivers may fail to fill their own prescriptions or visit the doctor for their own health issues.

As caregivers become more involved in maintaining the health and daily life of their loved ones, they are likely to neglect their own self-care.

Family members and spouses assisting some with Alzheimer’s may fail to fill their own prescriptions or visit the doctor for their own health issues. They are also more likely to have poor eating and exercising habits because of time constraints.

Those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s are at particular risk for poor health. A study published in the American Journal of Nursing  found that caring for someone with dementia caused “more severe negative health effects than other types of caregiving.

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Megan Jones

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