Celebrating Caregivers During Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month as well as National Caregivers Month. Caregivers are on the front lines of the fight against Alzheimer’s, witnessing its devastating effects daily.Celebrating Caregivers During Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

This month, let’s celebrate caregivers for all they do, and for the impact they have in the lives of people with Alzheimer’s, which cannot be overstated.

Celebrating Caregivers During Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that last year, 15.5 million caregivers provided 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care valued at $220 billion.

While both men and women are impacted by Alzheimer’s, women often bear the burden of caregiving more than men. Not only are two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s women, but more than 60% of Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers are women.

With many caregivers providing around the clock care while managing their own careers and families, it is no surprise that caregivers can feel an oppressive amount of stress. Take some time to put these mindfulness practices into your everyday life to reduce stress and avoid caregiver burnout.

Ways to Ease the Caregiving Burden

It is crucial to the health of the caregiver and their loved ones that caregivers manage stress effectively. If stress is not managed properly, caregivers can experience:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Denial
  • Depression
  • Exhaustion

Practicing mindfulness allows caregivers to be in the moment and remain present, which can help ease the stress that accompanies caregiving and prevent caregiver burnout. Mindfulness has also been shown to decrease loneliness, improve longevity and mood.

These mindfulness practices can help caregivers practice self-care that will ultimately benefit themselves and their loved ones:

  1. Aromatherapy: Use essential oils to relieve stress.
  2. Deep Breathing Exercises: Go through a series of deep breaths and be purposeful about inhaling and exhaling.
  3. Meditation: Let go of stressful thoughts.
  4. Positive Affirmations: Encourage yourself by saying positive things about who you are.
  5. Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Tighten and relax each muscle group in your entire body.
  6. Visualization: Mentally picture yourself in a peaceful, calm place.
  7. Yoga: Take a class or find a yoga video online.

How will you celebrate caregivers and manage stress during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month? Share your stories with us in the comments below.

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Please leave your thoughts and comments

  • Carol Wright

    Really, I am sick of these boilerplate CELEBRATE AWARENESS proclamations…

    After stating the enormous contributions of often solo women family caregivers…often abandoned by other family members if you want to know reality…but even with your glowing polished proclamation here of our VALUE, stating the obvious need for real honest money support for family caregivers…you offer MEDITATION TECHNIQUE!!!????

    When is the Alz Assn going to stop enabling the INFORMAL SUPPORT that has thus far trapped us caregivers into the UNPAID category. AARP, the White House Conference on Aging…ALL have assumed that this is a given…the family caregiver is UNPAID. No early SS, no emergency qualifying for Medicare, no stipend to keep their own lives affloat…but so important that WE keep OUR relatives out of the taxpayer-funded medical system. We get TRAINING …to learn more skills, to do more medical procedures and wound dressing etc…to keep the patient from being readmitted. I am not making this up. I read press releases about new programs…it is all admitted (see new program for state of New York, for instance).

    HEY ALZ ASSN…WHEN YOU GOING TO REALLY HELP US!?? NO more classes and candles lit and good wishes and meaningless presidential tributes…

    I arrived to care for mom Easter of 2002…and she died 13 years later.

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