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Managing caregiver stress | Alzheimer's Association

Taco Price joins Theba Lolley for a conversation about how to better manage stress that caregivers face.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Director of Programs and Services of Arkansas Chapter - Alzheimer's Association Taco Price shares how you can better manage caregiver stress.

“Becoming the most educated caregiver you can possibly be is of the utmost importance,” says Price.

Alzheimer's is a progressive disease and along the journey a caregiver may have to adopt new skills and strategies in terms of how to adjust.

It is natural for most people to immediately take action when they recognize changes in their loved one’s memory or behavior, but they may not have any professional training and understanding about how to be a caregiver.

As a result of this, it can become very overwhelming.

“I understand this because when I started to become a caretaker, it was for both my mom and dad at the same time and until my brother moved here to help, I did not realize the toll it was going to take on me emotionally, spiritually, and physically,” says Theba.

Theba says having a therapist and someone to talk to as well as taking caregiving classes has been helpful for her.

Do a self-check if you are feeling exhausted. Getting a therapist and having someone to talk to can encourage you that you are not alone.

It is important to keep your wellness and health a priority.

Signs of Stress: (Source: Alzheimer's Association)

  • Denial about the disease and its effect on the person who has been diagnosed. I know Mom is going to get better.
  • Anger at the person with Alzheimer’s or frustration that he or she can’t do the things they used to be able to do. He knows how to get dressed — he’s just being stubborn.
  • Social withdrawal from friends and activities that used to make you feel good. I don’t care about visiting with the neighbors anymore.
  • Anxiety about the future and facing another day. What happens when he needs more care than I can provide?
  • Depression that breaks your spirit and affects your ability to cope. I just don't care anymore.
  • Exhaustion that makes it nearly impossible to complete necessary daily tasks. I'm too tired for this.
  • Sleeplessness caused by a never-ending list of concerns. What if she wanders out of the house or falls and hurts herself?
  • Irritability that leads to moodiness and triggers negative responses and actions. Leave me alone!
  • Lack of concentration that makes it difficult to perform familiar tasks. I was so busy, I forgot my appointment.
  • Health problems that begin to take a mental and physical toll. I can't remember the last time I felt good.

Alzheimer's Association is available to talk with you about what you may be going through. The 24/7 helpline number is 1-800-272-3900 and resources are available on their website.