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If you are a family member who is taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia today, two things are certain:
According to the Alzheimer's Association, family caregivers are more likely to report their health is in poor condition than non-caregivers. Caregivers are also more likely to have high levels of stress hormones, inhibited immune systems, slow wound healing, hypertension and coronary heart disease. There are also reports that spousal caregivers will often die before the person with Alzheimer's disease due to these factors.
Monique Carter, RN, Wellness Director of Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr, says, “The Mayo Clinic, the Alzheimer’s Association and other experts in the field have referred to caregivers as the “second patient” or the “second victim” of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia – and appropriately so. Being and at-home caregiver can take a significant toll on caregivers in terms of their physical, mental and emotional well-being. Many caregivers today are caught in a vice between career, family and responsibility to their loved one and receive little or no respite. Additionally, these burdens only increase over time as the disease progresses and the loved one requires greater amounts of care, supervision and personal attention.”
Ms. Carter adds, “The cumulative effects of caregiver stress can be very dangerous, sometimes resulting in serious physical and emotional illness such as heart disease and severe depression. Therefore, it is critical for caregivers to take care of their own health, not just for themselves, but for their families and the loved one they are caring for.” Some of the key warnings signs of severe stress include:
You can also take an online Caregiver Stress Check.
“If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. Additionally, there are useful techniques you can try that have proven effective in reducing caregiver stress,” concludes Carter.
The Alzheimer’s Association article, “Caregiver Stress,” offers the following useful advice:
Remember, the most important thing you can do for your loved one is to stay physically and emotionally healthy yourself. Be vigilant of the symptoms of caregiver stress and be sure to take advantage of the recommended coping techniques and supportive resources. Help is available in many forms, and you should never suffer needlessly when caring for your loved one.
Loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or other memory impairments require specialized care and support. They also deserve a lifestyle rich in dignity and fulfillment. Our brand-new Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr community provides residents with Engaging Days and Meaningful Moments that emphasize individual abilities, encourage socialization and promote the highest level of independence possible. We offer a complete continuum of leading-edge programs, services and amenities that address the total physical, emotional and social needs of residents in a caring setting that offers individual suites with large private baths and the comforts of home. Our community touches hearts and changes lives.
Memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or another form of memory impairment doesn’t only affect the person who has it – it affects the entire family.
If you have a loved one with early- to mid-stage memory loss, you know how challenging it can be to provide the care that’s needed while trying to maintain balance in your life. As care needs increase, you may not be able to meet them physically or emotionally. It’s often difficult to be available to care for your loved one’s health and well-being around the clock.
If, and when, the time comes to seek additional help, place your trust in Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr. We lift the stresses and worries of being a caregiver from your shoulders, enabling you and your family to enjoy time with your loved one again. For more information, please call Sharon at (484) 380-5400, or contact us online.
Disclaimer: This information should not be construed as Impressions at Bryn Mawr Terrace or Main Line Senior Care Alliance offering legal advice. For legal advice, please consult your attorney.