Alzheimer Disease (cont.)
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Support Groups and Counseling
If you are a caregiver for a person with Alzheimer's disease, you know that the disease tends to be more stressful for the family members than for the affected person. Caring for a person with Alzheimer's disease can be very difficult. It affects every aspect of your life, including family relationships, work, financial status, social life, and physical and mental health. You may feel unable to cope with the demands of caring for a dependent, difficult relative. Besides the sadness of seeing the effects of your loved one's disease, you may feel frustrated, overwhelmed, resentful, and angry. These feelings may in turn leave you feeling guilty, ashamed, and anxious. Depression is not uncommon but usually gets better with treatment.
Caregivers have different thresholds for tolerating these challenges. For many caregivers, just "venting" or talking about the frustrations of caregiving can be enormously helpful. Others need more, but may feel uneasy about asking for the help they need. One thing is certain, though: if the caregiver is given no relief, he or she can burn out, develop his or her own mental and physical problems, and become unable to care for the person with Alzheimer's disease.
This is why support groups were invented. Support groups are groups of people who have lived through the same difficult experiences and want to help themselves and others by sharing coping strategies. Mental health professionals strongly recommend that family caregivers take part in support groups. Support groups serve a number of different purposes for a person living with the extreme stress of being a caregiver for a person with Alzheimer's disease:
Support groups meet in person, on the telephone, or on the Internet. To find a support group that works for you, contact the following organizations. You can also ask your health care provider or behavior therapist, or go on the Internet. If you do not have access to the Internet, go to the public library.
For more information about support groups, contact these agencies:
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/1/2014
Rodrigo O Kuljis, MD
Nestor Galvez-Jimenez, MD
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Helmi L Lutsep, MD
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