AlzU Blog

Offering Help to an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

If you know someone who is an Alzheimer’s caregiver, you may be very surprised to learn just what all a caregiver does on a daily basis. 

Caregivers face many challenges each day including: assisting their loved one in eating nutritious meals, daily hygiene needs, help with medications, dealing with sleep problems, and keeping their loved one safe around the clock.

As seniors with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) experience cognitive decline, the list of responsibilities gradually grows for the caregiver.  Caregivers change roles from being a daughter or son, a neighbor or spouse, into someone who wears many hats including; driver, housekeeper, cook, nurse, teacher, legal advocate and more. 

Supporting a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) requires a huge amount of time and patience.  Many caregivers will take on entirely too much when it comes to daily tasks and may never ask for help or support.  It’s common for caregivers to suffer from stress related conditions as a result of functioning on overdrive for long periods of time without a break.

If you personally know an AD caregiver, you may want to take a close look when they cheerfully tell you “We don’t need any help.”  Observe for signs of fatigue, agitation, disheveled appearance or sheer exhaustion.  Although you certainly can’t force an AD caregiver to accept help, it may come as a welcome surprise when friends and other family members step up to the plate to offer some much needed assistance with daily tasks. 

If you plan to help an AD caregiver, be sure to verbalize which jobs you are comfortable with.  Not everyone feels at ease giving an adult a bath or helping with toileting needs.  You may consider offering help with housekeeping or yard work, running errands, cooking or shopping.  Any type of offer to help with Alzheimer’s disease caregiving tasks would most likely come as a welcome surprise-particularly for full time caregivers.

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