Caregiving in any form is highly stressful and emotionally draining, but Alzheimer’s disease can be particularly challenging because of the mental deterioration it causes. You are not only contending with a decline in physical health, but a host of other difficult issues such as hallucinations, extensive memory loss, confusion, significant personality changes and even violent behavior. Finding ways to cope with your role and make it easier on you is of paramount importance. Here are some strategies to help you do just that.

Own Your Feelings

No one would want this situation for themselves; no one is thinking ‘’gee, I really hope my mother or father suffers a horrible, degenerative disease that will completely destroy their mind and body, and that their care will consume my life and derail all my plans.’’ Alzheimer’s disease can turn your loved one into someone you do not even recognize; the level of care required can seem overwhelming. You love your family member and want to do right by him, but you probably hate everything about this situation. This probably makes you feel extremely guilty. You may even find yourself wishing your loved one would pass so he can be relieved of this horrible existence and you can get your life back. That probably makes you feel terrible too. But, these feelings are completely normal. It does not mean you do not love your family, it does not mean you are a horrible person. Trying to deny these unpleasant thoughts will just make everything much harder than it already is. Acknowledge all that stuff, and know it is okay.

Finding Balance

If you let it, caregiving for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can take over every corner of your existence, and you cannot let this happen. It is important to establish boundaries. If you are like many people in this role, you may be in the midst of a career and raising a family of your own. You must not abandon your current life as you know it. No doubt things cannot be the same as they were, but complete destruction is not inevitable. Many caregivers tend to take on a Superman role, trying to do everything themselves, even when other avenues are available to them. The reasons for this vary, from a need to control to the good old ego that gets us into so many jams. Be realistic about what you can and cannot handle, and what you are willing and not willing to do.

Establishing a Routine

The confusion, anxiety, agitation and aggression inherent with this disease can be very troubling for a caregiver to deal with. There are many ways to cope with these behaviors, and one of the most helpful is establishing a routine. It is probably one of the strategies that will also offer the most direct benefit to you, the caregiver. Ideally, at around the same time each day, your loved one will get up ,eat, get dressed, exercise, get ready for bed and do anything else that is a normal part of the day. As for the routine that works best, that will depend on individual factors. Certain activities, like bathing can make people with Alzheimer’s agitated and difficult to deal with—it is best to schedule this for a time of day when she is most placid and agreeable. Routines in the evening are particularly helpful since sundowning syndrome can lead to increased confusion, agitation and other behavioral changes.

Be Flexible

As the disease progresses, strategies you are currently using may not work as well. Rather than fighting this, it is important to be flexible and willing to try new things and let go of preconceived notions of how things should be.

Author's Bio: 

Kelli Cooper, writing for, has blogged about a variety of elder care topics. She recommends visiting this site for helpful information for caregivers.