The Voices of Alzheimer's Caregivers

Four Alzheimer's caregivers describe their challenges in a roundtable talk.

June 25, 2009— -- Caregiving is truly a labor of love.

In a roundtable discussion for the OnCall+ Alzheimer's section, four caregivers of family members with Alzheimer's disease -- Alice, Maureen, Phyllis, and Joe -- reveal the day-to-day struggles they face looking after a loved one with this common form of dementia.

All four take part in an Alzheimer's support group that meets twice a month, one of the many organized throughout the country by the Alzheimer's Association. Support groups provide a comfortable and compassionate setting for participants to talk about the trials and tribulations of this neurodegenerative disease, which over time, gradually robs a person of his or her memory and reasoning skills.

Below you'll find links to the conversations of the four participants in this six-part transcript, which covers some of the common concerns and questions that come up when caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease, along with some tips and lessons learned during various stages of the disease.

Read Part One (Seeking Out a Support Group): Although they chose to begin their participation at different stages of the disease and for various reasons, find out why the caregivers sought out a support group in their community.

Read Part Two (Warning Signs): The four caregivers recall the early clues and signals of Alzheimer's disease they first saw in their loved ones.

Read Part Three (Daily Living and Independence): "It's a battle for showers and baths," recalled one Alzheimer's caregiver. Find out a few tricks to make cleaning up your loved one and helping that person to get dressed a little bit easier.

Read Part Four (Losing Recognition): As Alzheimer's advances, a person with the disease might lose the ability to recall the names and faces of loved ones. Here's how the four caregivers grapple with a lack of recognition.

Read Part Five (Reducing Stress and Improving Communication): Learn some techniques the caregivers have found to help calm down their loved one and get through to them as their thinking skills decline.

Read Part Six (Facing Alzheimer's Fears): The participants discuss whether they worry if they or their other family members may one day get Alzheimer's disease.


Do you want to know more about Alzheimer's symptoms, risk factors, tests or treatment? Visit the OnCall+ Alzheimer's Center to get all your questions answered.