Alzheimer's Caregiving: See Your Strength and Resilience

Oct. 14, 2022
two women sitting on a bench in a park laughing and smiling

Caregiving for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias (ADRD) can be rewarding yet stressful. Because ADRD is a progressive disease, changes and intensity of care can challenge family caregivers’ stress levels even more. This diagnosis may bring about changes very different from how a person with dementia lived their lives before diagnosis. With the unexpected, we discover our need to be flexible and compassionate as we react to these changes. 

The Alzheimer’s Association reports that 60% of dementia caregivers experience high or very high-stress levels, with an estimated 40% experiencing clinical depression.    Stress from ADRD caregiving can include fatigue, depression, sadness, anger, anxiety, loneliness, sleep issues, lack of concentration, and social withdrawal. With stress-related neglect of health and well-being, so too is the greater risk for illness.   

The good news? We are not alone. With support and help, we see the difference we make in the lives of our loved ones and ourselves. We recognize and apply creative skills, problem-solving abilities, and coping techniques to dementia care.  

The month of November is both National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Caregiver Month. In recognition, we “stay the course” for dementia caregiving with the following approaches and upcoming events:

  1. Get information.  Learning more about worst- and best-case scenarios and approaches to dementia caregiving will bring relief, support, and peace of mind to your journey. 
    1. Join the Alzheimer’s Association presentation, Dementia Conversations: Driving, Doctor Visits, Legal and Financial Planning.
    2. Identify services and resources to stress with the LWC Quick Chats for Caregivers series.
  2. Seriously, take care of yourself! Define self-care that works best for you and your work and caregiving journey. 
    1. Join the LWC presentation Caregiving and Self-Care: Build in a Balance on October 28.
    2. Find out about self-care and respite options for dementia caregiving by scheduling a caregiving consultation.
  3. Reach out to your dementia caregiving community.   Join a support group or connect with our University of Arizona team at the upcoming Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s scheduled for Saturday, October 22.

You may not be perfect. Goodness knows, neither is this diagnosis. With everyday caregiving, we honor our loved ones (and our) strengths and resilience.  Granted, we may stumble at times. With the many hats we wear with caregiving and every step we take; we learn that mastery of caregiving is simply doing the best we can. Therefore, our gifts are many.