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Caring for Someone With Alzheimer's

Know what to expect and prepare for challenges

Adapted from NIH/National Institute on Aging | November 26, 2012

About 15 million people in the United States care for a loved one with Alzheimer's.

Knowing what to expect and preparing for the challenges can help people with Alzheimer's live better with the disease and stay in their homes longer.

Many caregivers find their role difficult, yet rewarding. Each person's and family's situation is different, but having good information can help you be ready for the challenges each stage may bring.

Self and  Family Care

Caring for someone with Alzheimer's could be the toughest job you ever have. It's important to stay physically and emotionally healthy when you are providing care. It is not selfish to worry about your own health – taking care of yourself means you will be there for the person who needs you.

Caregiver Health


Long-Distance Caregiving

Changes in Relationships

Intimate Relationships

Grief and Loss

Talking to Family and Friends about Dementia

Many people are uncomfortable talking about Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Even doctors sometimes are reluctant to discuss this situation.

That is understandable, but not talking about the illness can make the person with Alzheimer's feel even more isolated, sad and frustrated.

Caregivers need to talk with others about what they are going through, too. Whether reaching out to friends and family or through a support group, talking about what you are facing is important for your health.

Tips on How to Communicate With Family and Friends About the Disease
  • The Alzheimer's Association External Web Site Policy has advice for caregivers on how to communicate with family and friends, and how to handle family conflicts.
  • The Family Caregiver Alliance External Web Site Policy has suggestions on how to deal with and prevent conflicts among siblings when making decisions on care for a parent with Alzheimer's.

Kids and Teens

Alzheimer's affects the whole family, including children and grandchildren. Information can help make it easier for your loved ones to cope.
Adapted from Alzheimers.gov, a website developed by the Department of Health and Human Services and the NIH/National Institute on Aging Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center.