Being a Caregiver
Caring for someone with memory loss and/or dementia is stressful. The
following are normal feelings many caregivers have expressed.
ξ Worry: You may find it hard to not worry about the future, and your ability
to cope with being a caregiver.
ξ Anger: You may feel angry that your loved one has dementia, and anger that
there is no cure. You may feel frustrated at other family members for not
ξ Tired: You may feel that you are too tired to do all the things you want to do
in a day.
ξ Feeling you are alone: You may find caring for someone leaves little time
and energy for fun things. And it may seem like few people understand your
ξ Lack of sleep: You may feel like you ae not getting enough sleep.
ξ Sadness: You may feel sad that your loved one has changed.
ξ Guilt: You may feel that you are not doing enough.
If you find these feelings are making it hard for you to care for yourself or a
loved one, be sure and talk to your health care provider.
The stress of care giving can make it easier to get sick. Think about ways to take
care of yourself.
Care giving can be hard. Here are some helpful ideas from other caregivers
that may help.
Things that may help:
ξ Learn about dementia: read books, attend workshops or support groups,
look at online resources (PBS series) and talk to a healthcare provider.
ξ Allow yourself to feel sad: This is a major life change for your loved one,
yourself and your family.
ξ Review or complete financial, legal and long term planning with a expert. It
helps to make these plans when your loved one can still help with the
ξ Find things to do that you and your loved one enjoy.
ξ Allow yourself to take time for yourself.
ξ Focus on the remaining strengths of your loved one.
ξ Planning time off every week is important for you. Use the time to do
something fun. Have lunch with a friend. Work out. See a movie. Take a nap.
If you are rested, you will do a better job.
ξ Few caregivers and families are able to handle caregiving by themselves.
ξ It is better to arrange for help as soon as possible. If you wait until you are
very tired, you may find it hard to bounce back. Take care to prevent
ξ If you want to provide the direct care most of the time, let people help with
other things such as cooking, errands, or getting your car fixed.
ξ Do not expect others to read your mind about what would be helpful. Most
people want to help but need you to tell them what needs to be done.
ξ Consider a support group. Meeting other families who are also caregiving a
loved one with dementia can be very helpful.
For information related to aging and living with disabilities, find your local
Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC). These are listed on the
Wisconsin Department of Health Services website:
Studies show that support for caregivers increases well-being and helps to
prevent illness. https://www.alzinfo.org/articles/alzheimers-research-on-caregiving/
The Alzheimer’s Association is a great source of information. You can contact
them at 1-800-272-3900 or www.alz.org.
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of WI is another great resource. You can
contact them at 1-888-308-6251 or www.alzwisc.org
PBS.org/theforgetting (A Portrait of Alzheimer’s documentary)
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor.
This is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because
each person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team
when using this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 11/2017. University of
Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5266