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Stress of Being an Alzheimer's Caregiver

It's stressful being an Alzheimer's caregiver. Learn about the symptoms of caregiver stress and how Alzheimer's caregivers can address that stress.

Over my years of psychiatric practice, I have dealt with many patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Fortunately for them, especially in the latter stages of their disease, they are usually unaware of the impact -- or even the presence of their disease. However, family members and other caregivers are keenly aware of the symptoms of their loved one's illness. Over time, the disease begins to have a profound effect upon the Alzheimer's caregivers. Recent studies on Alzheimer's caregivers show that THEY are likely to develop stress related problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, intestinal conditions , headaches and other psychological problems including anxiety and depressive disorders.

As the population ages, dementia becomes more common, with almost one third of those age 85 and older expected to be affected. The average lifespan after the diagnosis is between 8 and 20 years. Since family members are usually the caregivers for those suffering with Alzheimer's Disease, it is anticipated that over the course of time, many of the caregivers will suffer stress related symptoms as well.

Common symptoms of stress found amongst caregivers include: anxiety, depression, insomnia, irritability, social withdrawal, depression, anxiety. There's a variety of stress related physical symptoms as well, such as: headaches, exhaustion, lack of concentration, despair and others.

The Alzheimer's Association recommends the following for caregivers:

  • Know what resources are available
  • Become and educated caregiver
  • Get help
  • Take care of yourself
  • Manage your stress level
  • Accept changes as they occur
  • Do legal and financial planning
  • Be realistic
  • Give yourself credit, not guilt

On the HealthyPlace.com TV Show, we will talk more about symptoms of caregiver stress, and ways to manage it. We will also describe the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and the various treatment options available.

Watch HealthyPlace TV Show on The Stress of Being an Alzheimer's Caregiver

On our show, this Tuesday, August 18, our guest will be discussing the trials and triumphs of being an Alzheimer's caregiver to his father. You can watch it live (5:30p PT, 7:30 CT, 8:30 ET) and on-demand on our website.

Dr. Harry Croft is a Board-Certified Psychiatrist and Medical Director of HealthyPlace.com. Dr. Croft is also the co-host of the HealthyPlace TV Show.

next: Psychological Process of Changing Sex
~ other mental health articles by Dr. Croft

APA Reference
(2009, August 2). Stress of Being an Alzheimer's Caregiver, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, July 5 from https://www.healthyplace.com/about-hptv/croft-blog/stress-of-being-an-alzheimers-caregiver

Last Updated: January 14, 2014
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Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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