Some journeys you get to pick; others are chosen for you. Such is the case for people who are caring for a loved one who is suffering from a degenerative mental condition like Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.7 million Americans are currently living with this disease, a number that is projected to skyrocket to 14 million cases by 2050. But perhaps an even more staggering number is the 16.1 million Americans who are currently providing literally billions of hours of unpaid care each year for a loved one who is suffering from Alzheimer’s.

>> Related: When Memory Issues Are Cause for Concern

Advice from caregivers to caregivers

A recent article in Self highlights the difficult situation that these caregivers find themselves in, but more important, it discusses helpful insights that these caregivers would share with others who are embarking on this journey with a loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Dealing with the so-called “long goodbye” of watching a loved one disappear before your eyes; the importance of commiserating with others who are in the same boat; the financial ramifications of caregiving; even the importance of appreciating the time you have with your loved one—the people interviewed for this article offer heartfelt words of wisdom and grace about how others can best cope with their own role as caregiver.

>> Related: Understanding Memory Loss & Memory Care Communities

How to help a caregiver

Serving as caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s is a club that no one plans to join, but sometimes life throws unexpected curveballs.

If you yourself are caring for a loved one who suffers from dementia, this Self article offers real-world advice on how to deal with this difficult situation personally. But if you know someone who is serving as a caregiver, I would strongly encourage you to read this full article too. It provides tips on how to help support your caregiver-friend, such as refraining from giving unsolicited advice or offering to lend a hand, without having to be ask, in order to give the caregiver a break.

>> Read the full article from Self: 8 Things No One Tells You About Being a Caregiver for   Someone With Alzheimer’s Disease

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