Caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s can be so stressful that doctors sometimes call the caregivers themselves Alzheimer’s hidden patients. And with 80 percent of America’s 5.5 million Alzheimer’s patients being cared for by loved ones, there are a lot of them.
One of the hallmarks of being a caregiver in such a difficult situation is not recognizing when your own stress levels rise. The Alzheimer’s Association warns to be on the lookout for symptoms including denial (not admitting that someone has the disease), social withdrawal, anxiety about the future, exhaustion and sleeplessness, anger, irritability and overall depression. You may also experience lack of concentration and health problems such as gaining and losing weight.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, consider contacting an Alzheimer’s support group, talking with a religious or spiritual leader, consulting your physician or seeing a counselor.