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I'm a caregiver. You will probably be one, too.


Regular listeners know that I am a full-time caregiver to my mom with Alzheimer's. It is the most rewarding and frustrating thing I have ever done. I love my mom and want to give her excellent care, but I also don't want to fight with her at 3 am when she shouldn't be eating Cheez-its. It's a lot. And I am not alone.


It is estimated that approximately 15 million people in the United States provide care for a loved one with dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Association. This represents a significant portion of the caregiver population in the United States. Dementia is a progressive brain disorder that affects memory, thinking, and behavior. It is most commonly diagnosed in older adults, and the prevalence of dementia increases with age. As a result, caregivers of individuals with dementia are often older themselves and may be providing care in addition to managing their own health issues. Caring for a loved one with dementia can be challenging and emotionally draining, as the person with dementia may require a significant amount of support with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating. Caregivers may also need to manage the person's medications, finances, and other aspects of their care. In addition, caregivers may need to provide emotional support and encouragement to the person with dementia, as well as help them navigate changes in their cognitive abilities and behavior.


Many people will encourage you to do self-care, but finding time to do that is the challenge. This isn't easy. These are skills you will have to learn on the fly, and remembering to do things for yourself will be one of them. Use your support network - hopefully, they will actually help you and not just tell you that you could use some help...more on that later. Caregiving can be the ultimate challenge, but with patience and love, it can be rewarding for both you and your loved one.


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