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Today, people with dementia can experience a good quality of life. University of Michigan and AARP experts reported that while the majority of Alzheimer's caregivers say caregiving is stressful, just as many say their role is rewarding. Here are 10 things that can help.

"The first thing to know is that you are not alone," says Valerie Cadenhead, owner of Right at home of Central Arkansas. "Today, more than 5 million people in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer's disease, and 16 million family members and friends are serving as their unpaid caregivers."

Know you are valuable. Family caregivers are on the front lines of dementia care.

Learn all you can about your loved one's condition. Education helps family understand and create appropriate solutions for personality changes in their loved one, such as agitation, wandering and aggression.

Plan ahead. Alzheimer's disease cannot be cured, but the progression of the disease may be slowed by lifestyle changes.

Address legal and financial affairs sooner rather than later. As your loved one's abilities change, they will need help with financial and health care planning.

Many resources are available. On the national, state and local levels, public and private agencies offer support services for the increasing numbers of Americans with dementia and their families.

Talk to family and friends. "You can serve as an ambassador," says Cadenhead. "Encourage friends and family to continue to include your loved one, and share helpful information, such as the best time of day to visit, activities your loved one might enjoy, and how to best communicate."

Meet with other caregivers and families. Caregiving classes and caregiver support groups create an environment where it's safe to share your feelings and experiences, and your tears and laughter.

Change your home as your loved one's needs change. Your loved one's health care provider can recommend home modifications to make the environment safer and less confusing for your loved one.

Take time for yourself. Making time for your own needs is not selfish. It not only protects your health, but also makes you a better caregiver for your loved one.

Bring in home care. If "take time for yourself" seems like an impossible dream, ask for help. This can include arranging for home care services. Professional home care allows family to focus on their careers and other family responsibilities. In-home care is available for a few hours of family respite each week, all the way to 24/7.

Tabloids on 05/26/2020

Print Headline: 10 tips from family caregivers

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