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Caring for a Person with Memory Loss at Home

Alzheimer’s Los Angeles recognizes that many people living with or providing ongoing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another dementia do not see themselves as caregivers. Instead, they see themselves as loving family members doing what families do when someone becomes ill or needs additional help. However it is labeled, the physical, emotional, and financial burden of caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or another dementia at home is enormous.

Who is a Caregiver?

People with Alzheimer’s or another dementia are usually cared for by family members or friends. The majority (80%) of people receive care in their homes. Each year, more than 16 million Americans provide more than 17 billion hours of unpaid care for family and friends with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. In 2019, these caregivers provided an estimated 18.5 billion hours of care. Approximately two-thirds of dementia caregivers are women, about one in three caregivers (34%) is age 65 or older, and approximately one-quarter of dementia caregivers are “sandwich generation” caregivers, meaning that they care not only for an aging parent, but also for children under age 18.

The Demands of Caregiving

Caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and related dementias provide care for a longer duration than caregivers of people with other types of conditions (79% versus 66%). Well over half (57%) of family caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and related dementias provide care for four years or more.

The demands of caregiving can limit a caregiver’s ability to take care of themselves. Family caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and related dementias are at greater risk for anxiety, depression, and poorer quality of life than caregivers of people with other conditions.

Caring for the Caregiver

We encourage family or friends who are caring for a loved one with memory loss to take steps to care for themselves as well:

  • Get educated about the disease, so you understand what is happening to your loved one and what you can expect as the disease progresses. This website is a great place to start.

  • Check out our Basic Activities of Daily Living page to learn how to address some of the most common physical challenges of providing one-on-one care at home.

  • Ask for help. Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or another dementia is hard under the best of circumstances. Often, people are surprised by how much family and friends are willing to help when you ask. Alzheimer’s LA provides additional support and resources when you need them. Call the Helpline today.

  • Communicate with family. Our dementia specialist care counselors are highly skilled at helping get families on the same page and make decisions that are best for everyone involved.

  • Practice self-care. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of them. Ensure you are eating well, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and finding ways to give yourself a break when you need one.

Also see the Home Care section of our Resource Directory to learn about getting professional help in the home

Pages in the Caring for a Person with Memory Loss section