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Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers: How to Manage Caregiver Stress

5 Tips to Reduce Caregiver Stress 

If you or a loved one are a caregiver experiencing any of the challenges discussed to any degree, here are 4 tips that can help improve your quality of life. Try them out and see what works best for you.

1. Share the responsibility of caretaking 

As the old adage says, two birds are better than one. Receiving as much help as possible can reduce the stress experienced from having to handle everything on one’s own. It is important to ask for help when needed. Redistributing the load can look like:

  • Using the  available resources in your community for caregivers and care recipients16 

  • Applying for potential local and federal aid 

  • Checking to see if your health insurance offers benefits to support caregiving 

  • Enrolling your care recipient in Adult Daycare or hiring some additional help if it’s within your means

  • Reaching out to family and friends to help with some additional tasks (that’s what community is for)!

2. Switch it up. You may have to think creatively about how to do your routine tasks differently. 

  • Try a grocery delivery service to limit the amount of time you spend shopping for food and essential items. 

  • Buy a few senior-friendly items: i.e. Adult bibs , Button hooks, or even a vacuum robot to help your care recipient maintain some independence and to lessen the intensity of tasks for you.

3. Remember to take care of and take time for yourself 

Even if your daily schedule is packed, take some time, if even just for a few minutes, to do something for yourself. Taking care of yourself in the moment, will not only feel great but also help you to continue your great care work with gusto. This can look like: 

If you are a caregiver, then you already know that the costs of care can be daunting. Make sure to plan as far in advance as possible to accommodate these potential costs. This can look like:

  • Research general estimates for the cost of care (e.g. modifications to make your home safer, medical care) and budget accordingly.

  • Discuss with the care recipient’s medical provider, cost-effective, yet quality care tips. 

  • Review your insurance policies to see what type of coverage you have- health, long-term care, disability, or other insurance. 

  • Apply for local and federal supports (Social Security Disability Income, Supplemental Security Income, tax deductions or credits, Disability, or Veterans benefits). 

  • Meet with your employer to discuss hours and financial options that can accommodate your needs. You may be eligible for FMLA or other benefits.  

Learning more about Alzheimer’s and dementia will help you to be a more efficient and compassionate caregiver. Educating yourself can also help you feel more confident in providing care, which has been linked to reducing stress.

Alzheimer’s and dementia are chronic diseases that come with significant challenges not only for the patient but also for their family and friends. Unfortunately, the American healthcare system is fragmented and does not provide comprehensive financial support to ensure access to quality, culturally tailored healthcare. The limited social safety net programs and the difficulty of qualifying for these programs can add additional financial stress already incurred by the disease. It is important to discover cost-effective techniques to mitigate caregiver stress and to lean into your social support system. Doing so can help both caregivers and care recipients improve their quality of life.

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