Caregivers Often Stressed Assisting Patients

By: Judy Fortin, Health Minute
By: Judy Fortin, Health Minute

An estimated five-million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's Disease.
The large number of patients can place a great strain on their caregivers.

Twice a week, Liz Schantz pays a visit to her mother-in-law at an assisted living facility.

89-year-old Adele Schantz has late stage Alzheimer's Disease.

The Alzheimer's Association estimates there are 10-million Americans caring for someone with the condition.

Many of them are like Liz, full-time parents of younger children, who also look after their mother, father or in-laws.

"What we see very often, the patients really aren't fully aware of what's going on. It's the family that suffers and agonizes over this," explained Dr. Larry Tune, with the Emory School of Medicine.

The Alzheimer's Association reports many caregivers experience high levels of stress.

The group tells caregivers to educate themselves about the disease and find out what resources are available.

Find ways to manage stress and take care of their own bodies by eating well, exercising and getting plenty of rest.

In Liz's case, she's also trying to maintain a positive attitude and set a good example for her children.

"I hope, when it's my turn, they'll be right there waiting to take care of me, too," Schantz admitted.

If you are a caregiver feeling stressed and overwhelmed, experts say you should talk with your family doctor.

Stay in touch with your friends and family members and ask them for help.

To learn about the resources for caregivers, click here or call 1-800-896-3650.

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