Senior's Health

6 Ways to Avoid Alzheimer's Caregiver Burnout

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease is no easy role. It’s overwhelming. It’s draining. Some days are good, and other days are bad.

Angela Morriss MD reminds caregivers that stress is normal, and explains a few ways for avoiding burnout.

Tip #1: Make Lists and Plan Ahead

Caring for an individual with Alzheimer’s disease can be an emotional rollercoaster. “They can feel like they’re losing their memory, too,” Dr. Morriss explains. 

She suggests planning ahead, making lists and writing notes or appointments down on your calendar to keep yourself on task.

Tip #2: Make Sure Your Loved One Wears Identification

There may come a time in middle to late-stage Alzheimer’s when you need to transition your loved one into an extended care facility that can provide the level of safety that he or she needs. However, if you’re not quite ready for that change, Dr. Morriss says that anyone with Alzheimer’s should have identification on them at all times.

There are also web-based, GPS location management services available that allow you to remotely monitor your loved one at all times. This is especially helpful if he or she is physically healthy and agile.

Tip #3: Take Care of Yourself

In order to stay energized for the physical and mental demands that caregiving entails, you need to take care of yourself first. Dr. Morriss suggests spending at least 30 minutes each day doing something you enjoy.

Similarly, she also says to exercise regularly, maintain a proper sleep pattern, and schedule regular visits with your doctor. 

Tip #4: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

As a caregiver, you cannot expect to fulfill the job entirely on your own. Reach out to family members or friends who can help, so you can take time off. Dr. Morris also says “you shouldn’t be afraid to access adult daycare programs and respite care programs.”

Tip #5: Find a Support Group

"The person they're caring for is going to have good days and bad days," Dr. Morriss explains. For this reason, joining a local or online support group to discuss your triumphs and challenges as a caregiver can be very beneficial for your mental health.

Tip #6: Be Patient

What’s Dr. Morriss’ biggest tip? “Be patient with yourself. You’re not going to do it perfectly every day – and that’s okay,”

*All professionals quoted in this article were affiliated with TriHealth at the time of initial publication.

Tags Senior's Health

Last Updated: June 12, 2013