Alzheimer's Caregiver Support

8 Maxims of Strength and Comfort for Alzheimer's Caregivers

Duke University social worker Lisa Gwyther is an Alzheimer's caregiving pioneer, having started working with families almost 40 years ago, back when Alzheimer's was, like cancer, a dirty word about which even less was known. She's also the coauthor, with psychiatrist P. Murali Doraiswamy, of The Alzheimer's Action Plan: The Experts' Guide to the Best Diagnosis and Treatment for Memory Problems.

Here's some of her best advice:

  • Focus on what's left, not what's lost.

  • Good things and joy can happen to those who have Alzheimer's.

  • You, not your relative, will need to change.

  • Don't distress -- de-stress.

  • Your life is now about adapting to a chronic condition -- creating a "new normal."

  • This is the rainy day for which you have saved.

  • There are no perfect answers, no perfect families.

  • Memorize this: "I did what seemed best at the time."

Paula Spencer Scott

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers and much of the Alzheimer's and caregiving content on Caring. See full bio