Research continues to show that these family members spend more time on care and are more stressed than relatives of those with other illnesses. A study, for example, by the Metlife Mature Market Institute shows that caregivers of those with Alzheimers disease or other dementias commit an average 47 hours per week to personal care activities and other tasks, versus 33 hours by caregivers of those with physical impairments. Activities of daily living, which includes eating, bathing, dressing, and going to the bathroom, demand additional time.
Caregivers of individuals with Alzheimers disease may find caregiving less stressful if they learn how to best handle their loved ones personal care needs. When caregivers face roadblocks with these activities, they should explore possible underlying problems in order to find solutions. For instance, difficulty using silverware, a fear of being poisoned, or a dental condition might make a person stop eating. Medical problems, an inability to remember where or what the bathroom is, or clothing that is hard to remove might pose bathroom challenges.
Consulting with a healthcare professional is the first course of action. Then, caregivers might ease these tasks by preparing in advance, adapting routines or the home environment, and providing step-by-step directions and encouragement.