The role of a caregiver is, by nature, to provide support to others—but all too often, individuals in this position find themselves feeling isolated and helpless as they try to provide the best care possible. Just as we focus on the needs of those with Alzheimer’s, we must also provide resources for Alzheimer’s caregivers to help them navigate their own emotions, requirements or questions.
If you’re a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s, it’s okay to ask for help. Your support system will continue to grow as you reach out and connect with others who understand what you’re going through. To start building your own support system, here are seven resources to rely on:
1. National Organizations
There are a variety of national organizations that focus on Alzheimer’s research, support and training. The Alzheimer’s Association, National Institute on Aging and Alzheimer’s Foundation of America all offer specific resources for caregivers. Their library of content ranges from information on behavior response best practices to tips on how to take care of your own mental health.
2. Online Support Groups
Sometimes, it’s not always possible to travel and meet with a caregiver support group—let alone get over the anxiety of interacting with strangers for the first time. To help create a more accessible option for connection, our Vineyard Henderson Memory Care staff created a Facebook support group where caregivers can keep a digital community of caregivers at their fingertips. Other organizations have developed similar initiatives and you can build your support network online, just as much as you do IRL (in real life).
3. Podcasts and Videos
You might not always have the option to join a support group or read a long article, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of options. There are a variety of podcasts and videos that cover the topics you care about and need to hear, but don’t require a big time commitment. Start by listening to series like Caregiver SOS, Parents with Parents and Caregiver Dave to see if these resources can work well with your schedule.
4. Additional Care Training
Often, in order to feel more confident, all we need is a little more training. There are a variety of caregiver certifications and classes across the internet that can help give you further education on Alzheimer’s, memory care and caregiving basics. If you’re worried about staying accountable, consider taking an online course with a fellow caregiver or family member to stay on track.
5. Specialized Therapy
Therapists play an important role in many peoples’ lives. They are a third-party listener, a solution provider and a lifeline for support. There are therapists that specialize in caregiver support and may be able to help you work through the specific day-to-day challenges that you face. Consider reaching out to your insurance provider to see if any therapists in your network are covered.
6. Toll-Free Helpline
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America has created a toll-free helpline to aid caregivers when they need it most. The helpline is open from 9 AM to 9 PM ET, seven days a week. You can reach them by dialing 866-232-8484 or texting 646-586-5283. Their team of experts are there to help answer any of your questions, help you understand how to cope with a specific situation, learn more about caregiver self-care or navigate communication with family members.
7. Memory Care Community
Memory care and senior living communities can also be a great source of support as you help an individual with Alzheimer’s. For example, our Vineyard Senior Living staff is trained to help you navigate the process of transitioning a loved one to a full-time community while providing the best care possible.
Resources for Alzheimer’s Caregivers
While this list may be helpful, it isn’t exhaustive. There are a variety of other resources out there that can help caregivers practice self-care and succeed in their roles. For example, we’ve compiled a list of six helpful books that all caregivers should keep on their shelf. Do what works best for you, and remember to be patient with yourself as you work through the various challenges that come your way. You’re not alone, and there is an entire community ready to help you when you need it most.
Please feel free to reach out to us if you need more help or want to chat about memory care options.