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Taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do as a caregiver. This could mean asking family members and friends to help out, doing things you enjoy, using adult day care services, or getting help from a local home health care agency. Taking these actions can bring you some relief. It also may help keep you from getting ill or depressed.
Here are some ways you can take care of yourself:
Everyone needs help at times. It's okay to ask for help and to take time for yourself. However, many caregivers find it hard to ask for help.
If you have trouble asking for help, try using some of the tips below.
Here are some reminders about how to get help:
You may want to join a support group of AD caregivers in your area or on the Internet. These groups meet in person or online to share experiences and tips, and to give each other support. Ask your doctor, check online, or look in the phone book for a local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.
You also can call the Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center at no cost. The phone number is 1-800-438-4380 or visit www.nia.nih.gov/Alzheimers.
You may be so busy caring for the person with AD that you don't have time to think about your emotional health. But, you need to. Caring for a person with AD takes a lot of time and effort. Your job as caregiver can become even harder when the person you're caring for gets angry with you, hurts your feelings, or forgets who you are. Sometimes, you may feel really discouraged, sad, lonely, frustrated, confused, or angry. These feelings are normal.
Here are some things you can say to yourself that might help you feel better:
Many of us have spiritual needs. Going to a church, temple, or mosque helps some people meet their spiritual needs. They like to be part of a faith community. For others, simply having a sense that larger forces are at work in the world helps meet their spiritual needs. As the caregiver of a person with AD, you may need more spiritual resources than others do.
Meeting your spiritual needs can help you:
Other caregivers made these suggestions to help you cope with your feelings and spiritual needs:
From the National Institute on Aging: http://www.nia.nih.gov/Alzheimers/Publications/CaringAD/caring/how.htm