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How to Be A Better Alzheimer's Caregiver: Strategies for Success

03/13/2015 11:25 am ET | Updated May 13, 2015

Millions of people from all over the globe, find themselves taking on the difficult responsibility of being an Alzheimer's caregiver. Whether its for a friend, loved one, or a parent, taking on this job means taking on a number of challenges. Alzheimer's disease can change any person, impact how they act, and change the way they exhibit normal behaviors. These changes can happen at a moment's notice and catch anyone off-guard. This is just one of the countless challenges that a person acting as an Alzheimer's caregiver must deal with. This is precisely why any person caring for one of these individuals needs to arm themselves with some of the most prove "strategies for success." Armed with these tools, any person can find themselves better prepared to handle the challenges that come with being an Alzheimer's caregiver.

Educate Yourself

One of the best things that any Alzheimer's caregiver can do is to educate themselves. It is important to be educated both on Alzheimer's disease and on the ins and outs of being a caregiver. Any successful caregiver should be up-to-date with the latest caregiving strategies and know the ins and outs of Alzheimer's disease and what changes it brings.

Manage Expectations

It is important to always stay positive when acting as a familial caregiver. However, staying positive and creating unrealistic expectations are two very different things. It is important as a caregiver to find that delicate balance between being optimistic and managing your expectations. Even the best caregiver in the world can't reverse the effects of Alzheimer's disease. There are going to be challenging days ahead no matter what, and the best way to handle these is to be prepared for them.

Develop a Support System

Having a support system and people to talk to about your challenges is very important. Support groups come in a variety of forms. Some people have friends and family to talk to about their experiences while others will join a more formal network of Alzheimer's caregivers. When you are able to talk to others about your experience and feel this support, you will be a happier, healthier, better adjusted caregiver.

Don't Forget to Care For Yourself Too

One of the biggest things that Alzheimer's caregivers forget to do is to take care of themselves. Most caregivers get so immersed in this responsibility that the time they once set aside for themselves quickly deteriorates. A good caregiver is one that is physically and mentally healthy, and one that is not overly stressed. Bringing that type of negative energy around a person with Alzheimer's can only worsen their condition and make them feel nervous or anxious. Care for yourself, both for your own well-being and for theirs.

There is no shortage of challenges that accompany being an Alzheimer's caregiver. However, no matter how challenging these times can be, for the many who take on this role, knowing these loved ones are getting the care they deserve makes it more than worth the pitfalls. Most caregivers strive to be the best they can be for their loved ones, and these simple tips can help anyone improve their work as an Alzheimer's caregiver.