Caring through stages of Alzheimer’s

If you’re caring for your loved one with Alzheimer’s at home, you’re not alone. Most care partners—80 percent—are family members in home settings.7 As the disease moves from its early stage through its middle and late stages, your loved one may need more care.

Early-stage caregiving

Your loved one may still be able to do much on their own, like enjoying social activities or even work, while turning to you for more support and to help plan for the future. You may notice changes that move you into the new role of finding a balance between how much help your loved one, and when.

Middle-stage caregiving

Your loved one may have more trouble expressing thoughts and doing everyday tasks, such as getting dressed. He or she may act in unexpected ways, like refusing to bathe. You may need to make changes to daily routines, and come up with ways of coping that work for both of you. The middle stages of Alzheimer’s are usually the longest and can last for many years.8

Late-stage caregiving

Your loved one likely needs round-the-clock care. He or she may have trouble eating or walking, and need full-time help with personal care. Your role now is to do what you can so that your loved one enjoys these days with dignity. Help your loved one find joy through senses—reading or looking at old photos together, or spending time outside on a beautiful day. This late stage may last from several weeks to years.9

Your loved one needs you at your best

Good caregiving starts with you

Caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease are at greater risk for anxiety, depression and poorer quality of life compared to caregivers of people with other chronic conditions.6 Take care of yourself as well as your loved one. Be sure to:

  • Keep your own doctor appointments
  • Eat right
  • Get enough physical activity

Don’t go it alone. Build a support system that might include a caregiver support group, family and friends, and resources found at your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter. See the Alzheimer’s Association(link opens in new window) for an entire section devoted to caregiving, including a forum to ask other caregivers questions.

Here to help

As your loved one progresses through stages, you may need help.

Humana At HomeSM care management services can help eligible Humana members get help with meals, transportation and more. Learn more at Humana.com/AtHome.

Don’t go it alone. Build a support system that might include a caregiver support group, family and friends, and resources found at your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter. Visit www.alz.org(link opens in new window) for an entire section devoted to caregiving, including a forum to ask other caregivers questions.

Caring thought

“The simple act of caring is heroic.”—Edward Albert

The information in this newsletter is for educational purposes only and should not replace the advice or treatment from your doctor or licensed medical clinician.

Humana is a Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO and PFFS organization and a stand-alone prescription drug plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any Humana plan depends on contract renewal.