Becoming a caregiver
A caregiver is anyone who takes responsibility for the needs of another person, either permanently or temporarily. This may include medical care and physical care as well as companionship and emotional support. The caregiver may be required to make important treatment decisions, enlist medical services and represent a loved one’s interests. At the same time, a caregiver must carefully tend to his or her own mental and physical health. There may be other responsibilities, including a career and parenting.
Explaining every aspect of the caregiver’s role is beyond the scope of this book. The appendix “Additional Resources” can direct you to more in-depth caregiving information. What this and the following chapters provide are basic guidelines to caregiving.
If a family member receives a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, you may feel overwhelmed at first. Give yourself time to let the diagnosis sink in. You may have a variety of emotional reactions to the news, including sadness, disbelief, anger and guilt. Once you have allowed yourself time to absorb the diagnosis, you may begin the process of becoming a caregiver. Here are some initial steps you can take: