Harvard Women's Health Watch

Alzheimer's caregiving: Day-to-day challenges

Bath time, mealtime, and bedtime are among the hardest parts of the day. Here are some ways to get through them.

Alzheimer's disease has a profound emotional impact on the family members who must cope with a loved one's irrevocable decline. There are many legal and financial issues that need to be addressed as quickly as possible, but family members often report that the day-to-day challenges of caring for someone with Alzheimer's weigh far more heavily.

It's important to remember that the abilities of a person with Alzheimer's disease can fluctuate from day to day and even from hour to hour, for the same reasons that abilities fluctuate in healthy people: fatigue, anxiety, discomfort, illness, or medication effects. Uneven loss of abilities can be especially confusing. Someone with Alzheimer's may be able to perform some complex tasks better than simple ones, and family members may wrongly attribute this to "not trying hard enough" or being deliberately uncooperative.

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