Adapting Activities for People with Alzheimer’s Disease

(National Institutes of Health) Doing things we enjoy gives us pleasure and adds meaning to our lives. People with Alzheimer’s disease need to be active and do things they enjoy. However, don’t expect too much. It’s not easy for them to plan their days and do different tasks.

People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble deciding what to do each day, which could make them fearful and worried or quiet and withdrawn, or they may have trouble starting tasks. Remember, the person is not being lazy. He or she might need help organizing the day or doing an activity.

Activity Planning

Plan activities that the person with Alzheimer’s enjoys in your daily routine, and try to do them at a similar time each day. He or she can be a part of the activity or just watch. Here are things you can do to help the person enjoy the activity:

  • Match the activity with what the person with Alzheimer’s can do.
  • Choose activities that can be fun for everyone.
  • Help the person get started.
  • Decide if he or she can do the activity alone or needs help.
  • Watch to see if the person gets frustrated.
  • Make sure he or she feels successful and has fun.
  • Let him or her watch if that is more enjoyable.

Try These Activities

The person with Alzheimer’s disease can do different activities each day. This keeps the day interesting and fun. Here are some daily activities people with Alzheimer’s may enjoy:

  • Household chores: Wash dishes, set the table, prepare food, sweep the floor, dust, sort mail and clip coupons, sort socks and fold laundry, sort recycling materials or other things.
  • Cooking and baking: Decide what is needed to prepare the dish; measure, mix, and pour; tell someone else how to prepare a recipe; watch others prepare food.
  • Exercise: Take a walk together, watch exercise videos  or TV programs made for older people, use a stationary bike, use stretching bands, throw a soft ball or balloon back and forth, lift weights or household items such as soup cans.
  • Music and dancing: Play music, talk about the music and the singer, ask what the person with Alzheimer’s was doing when the song was popular, sing or dance to well-known songs, attend a concert or musical program.
  • Pets: Feed, groom, walk, sit and hold a pet.
  • Gardening: Take care of indoor or outdoor plants, plant flowers and vegetables, water the plants when needed, go to school events, talk about how much the plants are growing.
  • Visiting with children: Play a simple board game, read stories or books, visit family members who have small children, walk in the park or around schoolyards, go to school events, talk about fond memories from childhood.

Going Out

People in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease may still enjoy going out to places they enjoyed in the past. For example, the person might enjoy going to a favorite restaurant, park, shopping mall, swimming pool, museum, or theater. Keep going on these outings as long as you are comfortable with them.

Plan Ahead for Outings

Here are some tips to make outings fun:

  • Plan outings for the time of day when the person with Alzheimer’s is at his or her best.
  • Keep outings from becoming too long. Take note of how tired the person gets after a certain amount of time. Bring the person home before he or she becomes overtired.
  • Use a business-size card to tell others about the person’s disease. Sharing this information with store clerks or restaurant staff can make outings more comfortable for everyone. For example, the card could say “My family member has Alzheimer’s disease. He might say or do things that are unexpected. Thank you for your understanding.”

Eating Out

Going out to eat can be a welcome change, but it can also be challenging. Planning can help. Before choosing a restaurant, think about its layout, menu, noise level, waiting times, and the helpfulness of the staff. Ask yourself:

  • Does the person with Alzheimer’s disease know the restaurant well?
  • Is it quiet or noisy most of the time?
  • Are tables easy to get to? Do you need to wait before being seated?
  • Is the service quick enough to keep the person from getting restless?
  • Does the restroom meet the person’s needs?
  • Are foods the person with Alzheimer’s likes on the menu?
  • Is the staff understanding and helpful?

Before going to the restaurant, decide if it is a good day to go. If it is, think about the best time to go. Earlier in the day may be best, so the person with Alzheimer’s is not too tired. Also, the restaurant may be less crowded, and service may be quicker. If you decide to go later, try to get the person to take a nap first.

Before you leave home, gather what you need. Helpful items may include utensils, a towel, wipes, or bathroom items.

At the Restaurant

  • Tell the waiter or waitress about any special needs, such as extra spoons, bowls, or napkins.
  • Ask for a table near the restroom and in a quiet area. Seat the person with his or her back to busy areas.
  • Help the person choose a meal, if needed. Suggest food you know the person likes. Read parts of the menu or show the person pictures of the food. Limit the number of choices.
  • Ask the server to fill glasses half full or leave the drinks for you to serve.
  • Order finger food or snacks to hold the attention of the person with Alzheimer’s.
  • Go with the person to the restroom. Go into the stall if the person needs help.

Participating in Spiritual Activities

Like you, the person with Alzheimer’s may have spiritual needs. If so, you can help the person stay part of his or her faith community. This can help the person feel connected to others and remember pleasant times. Here are some tips for helping a person with Alzheimer’s disease who has spiritual needs:

  • Involve the person in spiritual activities that he or she has known well. These might include worship, religious or other readings, sacred music, prayer, and holiday rituals.
  • Tell people in your faith community that the person has Alzheimer’s disease. Encourage them to talk with the person and show him or her that they still care.
  • Play religious or other music that is important to the person. It may bring back old memories. Even if the person with Alzheimer’s has a problem finding the right words to speak, he or she still may be able to sing songs or hymns from the past.

Traveling Overnight

Taking a person with Alzheimer’s disease on an overnight trip is a challenge. Traveling can make the person more worried and confused, so it’s important to think ahead. Here are some tips.

Plan Ahead

  • Talk with the person’s doctor about medicines to calm someone who gets upset while traveling.
  • Find someone to help you at the airport, train station, or bus station.
  • Keep important documents with you in a safe place. These include health insurance cards, passports, doctors’ names and phone numbers, a list of medicines, and a copy of the person’s medical records.
  • Pack items the person enjoys looking at or holding for comfort.
  • Travel with another family member or friend.
  • Take an extra set of clothing in a carry-on bag.

People with memory problems may wander around a place they don’t know well. In case someone with Alzheimer’s disease gets lost:

  • Make sure the person wears an ID bracelet or something else that tells others who he or she is.
  • Carry a recent photo of the person with you on the trip.

After You Arrive

  • Allow lots of time for each thing you want to do. Don’t plan too many activities.
  • Plan rest periods.
  • Follow a routine like the one you use at home. For example, try to have the person eat, rest, and go to bed at the same time he or she does at home.
  • Keep a well-lighted path to the toilet, and leave the bathroom light on at night.
  • Be prepared to cut your visit short if necessary.

Visiting Family and Friends

Spending time with family and friends is important to people with Alzheimer’s disease. They may not always remember who people are, but they often enjoy the company. Here are some tips to share with people you plan to visit:

  • Be calm and quiet. Don’t use a loud voice or talk to the person with Alzheimer’s as if he or she were a child.
  • Respect the person’s personal space, and don’t get too close.
  • Make eye contact and call the person by name to get his or her attention.
  • Remind the person who you are if he or she doesn’t seem to know you. Try not to say, “Don’t you remember?”
  • Don’t argue if the person is confused. Respond to the feelings that he or she expresses. Try to distract the person by talking about something different.
  • Remember not to take it personally if the person doesn’t recognize you, is unkind, or gets angry. He or she is acting out of confusion.
  • Have ready some kind of activity, such as a familiar book or photo album to look at. This can help if the person with Alzheimer’s is bored or confused and needs to be distracted. But be prepared to skip the activity if it is not needed.

Read about this topic in Spanish. Lea sobre este tema en español.

For More Information About Adapting Activities for People with Alzheimer’s

NIA Alzheimer’s and related Dementias Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center
1-800-438-4380 (toll-free)
The National Institute on Aging’s ADEAR Center offers information and free print publications about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias for families, caregivers, and health professionals. ADEAR Center staff answer telephone, email, and written requests and make referrals to local and national resources.

Alzheimer’s Association
1-800-272-3900 (toll-free, 24/7)
1-866-403-3073 (TTY/toll-free)

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America
1-866-232-8484 (toll-free)

Family Caregiver Alliance
1-800-445-8106 (toll-free)


National Institutes of Health


Resources for Children and Teens About Alzheimer’s Disease

(National Institutes of Health) When someone has Alzheimer’s disease, it affects everyone in the family, including children and grandchildren. This resource list offers a selection of fiction and nonfiction books, articles, websites, and other materials that may help children and teenagers cope when a family member or friend has Alzheimer’s. They can also help parents talk with their children about the disease.

Some of the resources on this list are free; others must be purchased. To buy an item, please contact the publisher to confirm price and payment information. Many items are also available from traditional and online booksellers.

The items in this resource list are organized alphabetically within four categories:

  • For Young Children
  • For Teenagers
  • For All Children
  • For Parents and Adults Who Work with Children

For Young Children

Always My Grandpa: A Story for Children About Alzheimer’s Disease (by Linda Scacco, 2005, 48 p.)

This picture book tells the story of young Daniel and his grandfather, who has Alzheimer’s disease. Daniel and his mom spend every summer with Grandpa, a fisherman who lives by the sea. Daniel loves the times spent playing baseball, walking on the beach, and hearing Grandpa’s stories. But this summer is different—Daniel is about to learn what Alzheimer’s means for both Grandpa and himself. A note to parents at the end of the book offers advice for helping children deal with common emotions and reactions to a loved one with Alzheimer’s.

Published by Magination Press. Phone: 1-800-374-2721. Email: . Hardcover $14.95; paperback $9.95.

Do You Have a Moon at Your House? (by Jeannie Johnson, 2005, 39 p.)

This illustrated storybook is about Madison and her grandmother, who have a very special bond. Together they read stories, go on walks, or just sit on the swing and talk. When her grandmother begins to forget things and ask strange questions, Madison is worried. Her mother explains that Grandma has Alzheimer’s disease. The arrival of a special gift gives Madison and her grandmother the chance to reconnect. For ages 6–10.

Available from online booksellers. Hardcover $24.99.

Flowers for Grandpa Dan (by Connie McIntyre, 2005, 32 p.)

In this picture book, a family copes with the illness of Grandpa Dan, an avid gardener who has passed on his hobby to his children and grandchildren. An informational page from the St. Louis chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association suggests ways for adults to talk with children about the disease.

Available from online booksellers. Hardcover $15.19; paperback $12.53.

Getting to Know Ruben Plotnick (by Roz Rosenbluth, 2005, 32 p.)

This illustrated children’s book tells the story of David and his Grandma Rosie, who has dementia. Grandma’s weird and unpredictable behavior threatens to embarrass David in front of Ruben Plotnick, a new friend and the coolest kid in class. One day, Ruben invites himself over to David’s house. When Grandma calls out, “Nate, let’s dance,” Ruben steps up and gallantly dances around the kitchen with her. David discovers the importance of looking beneath the surface to get to know someone. For ages 5–9.

Available from Independent Publishers Group. Phone: 1-800-888-4741. Email: . Hardcover $15.95; PDF and ePub,$12.95.

Grandfather’s Story Cloth (by Linda Gerdner and Sarah Langford, 2008, 32 p.)

Written in English and Hmong, this illustrated book tells the story of Chersheng and his grandfather, who is starting to forget little things like turning off the water and big things like Chersheng’s name. Chersheng feels sad and helpless when he learns that Grandfather has Alzheimer’s. Then Chersheng’s mother gives him a Hmong story cloth that makes Grandfather’s memories of his life in Laos come alive. For ages 6–10. Includes a discussion guide for parents, teachers, and healthcare providers.

Available from online booksellers. Hardcover $13.21.

Grandpa Doesn’t Know Me Anymore (by Terri Kelley, 2013, 36 p.)

When his grandfather moves into his home, a young boy tries to reconnect with the man he knows. When this isn’t possible, the boy promises to always love and take care of his grandpa.

Available from online booksellers. Paperback $9.49.

It Only Looks Easy (by Pamela Swallow, 2009, 192 p.)

This book tells the story of a girl, Kat, whose dog is nearly killed by Mrs. Lawrence, an elderly driver with Alzheimer’s disease. When Kat visits Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence, she realizes that Mrs. Lawrence is very confused and doesn’t remember what she did. After the visit, Kat’s mother explains Alzheimer’s to her.

Available from Macmillan. Phone: 1-646-307-5151. Paperback $6.99.

The Memory Box (by Mary Bahr, 1992, 32 p.)

This is the story of young Zach, who spends summers on a lake with his beloved grandparents. When Gramps develops Alzheimer’s, his memory sometimes fails, and Zach has to help him out. Zach and his grandparents start a memory box, a wooden box filled with treasures to help everyone remember the times they shared. For ages 6-9.

Available from online booksellers. Paperback $6.88.

My New Granny (by Elisabeth Steinkellner, 2012, 32 p.)

This book tells the heartwarming story of Fini, a young girl who learns to accept her grandmother’s dementia. After Granny moves in, Fini at first is puzzled by her sometimes strange and childlike behaviors. But Fini gets used to her “new Granny” and learns how she can help her mother and the new aide take care of her.

Available from Sky Pony Press. Phone: 1-212- 643-6816. Hardcover $16.95.

Remember Me? Te acuerdas de mi? (by Sue Glass, 2004, 32 p.)

Written in English and Spanish, this tale is told from a child’s point of view. A little girl whose grandfather has Alzheimer’s disease is confused and upset when he cannot remember her. Her mother tells her about Alzheimer’s and gives the girl a job—to be her grandfather’s memory and remind him about all the fun things they have done together.

Available from Raven Tree Press. Phone: 1-800-323-8270. Email: . Hardcover $14.95.

Singing with Momma Lou (by Linda Jacobs Altman, 2002, 32 p.)

This book for children age 6–9 tells the story of 9-year-old Tamika and her grandmother, Momma Lou, who has Alzheimer’s disease. Every Sunday, Tamika visits Momma Lou in the nursing home. Tamika uses photographs, school yearbooks, movie ticket stubs, newspaper clippings, songs, and other mementos to help Momma Lou remember important times in her life and to learn about her grandmother’s life.

Available from online booksellers. Hardcover.

Still My Grandma (by Veronique Van den Abeele, 2007, 28 p.)

Recommended for ages 4–8, this illustrated story describes little Camille’s fun times with her grandmother. When her grandmother develops Alzheimer’s and does odd things, Camille learns about the disease and finds ways to continue their special relationship.

Available from Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. Phone: 1-616-459-4591. Email: . Hardcover $16.

Striped Shirts and Flowered Pants: A Story About Alzheimer’s Disease for Young Children (by Barbara Schnurbush, 2006, 32 p.)

In this picture book for children ages 4–8, Libby and Nana love to read stories and feed birds together. But Libby notices that Nana is forgetting the words in books, mixing up the names of birds, and wearing clothes that don’t match. When Libby’s parents tell her about Alzheimer’s disease, she begins to understand what is happening to Nana. With their reassurance and help, she finds ways to be with Nana and still do the things they love.

Published by Magination Press. Phone: 1-800-374-2721. Email: . Hardcover $14.95.

The Voice of the Climbing Rose: A Tribute to Caregivers (by Christopher Perry, 2004, 32 p.)

This illustrated storybook is designed to help children understand what is happening to loved ones with Alzheimer’s. It tells the story of a mother who plants a rose bush the day her daughter was born. As time passes, the woman watches both her daughter and the rose bush grow, but she eventually develops Alzheimer’s and forgets many things, including the rose bush and her own daughter. The daughter still loves and cares for her, as her mother cared for the once-fallen bush long ago. The book comes with a CD containing a lullaby.

Available from online booksellers. Paperback from $1.25.

What’s Happening to Grandpa? (by Maria Shriver, 2004, 48 p.)

This book tells the story of Kate, a young girl whose grandfather has Alzheimer’s disease. Grandpa has always been the best storyteller Kate has ever known, but lately he repeats himself, becomes easily frustrated, and even forgets Kate’s name. When Kate’s mother explains that Grandpa has Alzheimer’s, Kate finds a way to cherish his life and memories. For children age 3–6.

Available from online booksellers. Hardcover $15.99.

When My Grammy Forgets, I Remember: A Child’s Perspective on Dementia (by Toby Haberkorn, 2015, 38 p.)

This picture book, told from a young girl’s perspective, reveals the closeness and love between a grandmother and granddaughter as they spent time together. The girl notices changes in her Grammy’s behavior, like how Grammy can’t read to her anymore. The girl’s mother tells her that “Grammy’s brain is not working properly” but assures her that Grammy still loves her. The refrain “My Grammy hugs me tight” becomes “I hug my Grammy tight.”

Available from online booksellers. Paperback $12.95.

Why Did Grandma Put Her Underwear in the Refrigerator? An Explanation of Alzheimer’s Disease for Children (by Max Wallack and Carolyn Given, 2013, 40 p.)

Seven-year-old Julie explains Alzheimer’s to young readers in terms they can understand. Told from a second-grader’s point of view, this illustrated book can help children cope with a relative’s gradual memory loss and new behaviors and learn how to care for a relative in their own way.

Available from online booksellers. Paperback $11.53.

A Young Man’s Dance (by Laurie Knowlton, 2006, 32 p.)

This illustrated children’s book tells the story of a young boy whose Grandma loved to dance with her grandson while cookies baked in her oven. Now she lives in a nursing home, where she sits in a wheelchair and doesn’t remember the cookies or her grandson’s name. Seeing his grandmother like this is hard for the boy. One day, when a band plays at the nursing home, the grandson finds a way to relive dancing with Grandma.

Available from online booksellers. Hardcover $14.26.

For Teenagers

AFA Teens

This website seeks to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s and engage teens in the cause. For teens with family members affected by the disease, AFA Teens offers an online community with support from experts and the chance to share experiences and connect with each other through a bulletin board and blog. Other features include an e-newsletter and calendar of events.

Published by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. Phone: 1-866-AFA-8484. Email: . Free online access.

Brain Basics: Know Your Brain

This web page explains the parts of the human brain, functions they control, and how they work, with accompanying figures. It describes the brain’s communications system and lists major neurological disorders that alter the brain’s ability to function properly.

Published by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Free online access.

Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip (by Jordan Sonnenblick, 2012, 304 p.)

After Peter’s hopes to join his new high school’s baseball team are dashed, he turns to an old hobby, photography. Taught by his grandfather, a professional photographer, Peter spends more and more time with his grandfather and a girl in photography class at school. Grandpa’s forgetfulness and new habits puzzle Peter until he learns about Alzheimer’s. This novel explores friendship, romance, family, and tragedy. Age 12 and up.

Published by Scholastic Press. Phone: 1-800-724-6527. Hardcover $12.59; paperback $5.59.

Pop (by Gordon Korman, 2011, 272 p.)

New-boy-in-town Marcus joins the school football team and meets Charlie, a middle-aged man who turns out to be retired NFL linebacker Charlie Popovich, “the king of the pop.” Marcus’s rival teammate Troy turns out to be Charlie’s son. This book weaves a tale of intergenerational friendship as Marcus learns that Charlie has early-onset Alzheimer’s—a fact that Charlie’s family desperately wants to hide but that is increasingly hard to ignore.

Published by HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. Phone: 1-212-207-7000. Email: . Paperback $9.99.

Trudy (by Jessica Lee Anderson, 2005, 192 p.)

In this novel for teens, Trudy, who is in middle school, has older parents who are sometimes mistaken to be her grandparents. And if that isn’t enough, math class isn’t going well, and her best friend Ashley has ditched her for a new crowd. Then Trudy finds a new best friend and has her first crush on a boy. Just when things are starting to look up at school, Pop is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and Trudy and her mother face some tough decisions.

Available from Milkweed Editions. Phone: 1-800-520-6455. Hardcover $6.95

For All Children

About My Grandfather, About My Grandmother (2007, 6:30)

This video features young children and teens from two different families talking about what it’s like to experience a grandparent’s dementia. They discuss how they learned about Alzheimer’s, their feelings during situations that arose, and how they responded.

Produced by the Alzheimer’s Society. Free online access.

Alzheimer’s Disease (2011)

This short website article for children describes Alzheimer’s disease, what happens to the brain, symptoms and diagnosis, and treatment. It also discusses how children might react to a loved one with Alzheimer’s and simple ways to show caring and love.

Published by the Nemours Center for Children’s Health Media. Free online access.

Grandpa, Do You Know Who I Am? (2009, 30:48)

This film is part of The Alzheimer’s Project, which looks at groundbreaking scientific discoveries and seeks to increase public understanding of Alzheimer’s research and caregiving. Narrated by Maria Shriver, it tells five stories of children ages 6–15 whose grandparents have Alzheimer’s. It shows how dementia can affect children and how children can relate to older family members with memory problems. An accompanying discussion guide (PDF, 318K) is designed to help start family and community conversations between kids and adults about the film and about Alzheimer’s disease.

Produced by HBO Documentary Films. Free online access.

Information About Dementia for Young People (PDF, 152K) (2012, 2 p.)

This fact sheet provides basic information about dementia for children and adolescents. The first part provides a general overview of dementia, its symptoms, and diagnosis. The second part explains how dementia can affect children and grandchildren, how kids can help people with dementia, and how kids can handle their feelings about dementia. Includes a list of downloadable publications.

Available from Alzheimer’s Australia. Free online access.

Kids & Teens

This web page links to several videos, fact sheets, and other materials to help young people understand Alzheimer’s disease, how it affects the brain, and how to cope with a family member’s diagnosis. It links to the Alzheimer’s Association’s “Brain Tour” and related websites, as well as resources for parents to help them talk to children about Alzheimer’s. Includes videos for kids and teens.

Published by the Alzheimer’s Association. Phone: 1-800-272-3900. Email: . Free online access.

For Parents and Adults Who Work with Children

After a Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s: Libby’s Story (2011, 3:49)

In this video, Libby explains how she told her grandson about her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and “made memories” with him.

Produced by the Alzheimer’s Association. Free online access.

Explaining Dementia to Children and Young People (2013, 8 p.)

Finding out that someone close to you has dementia, and coping with the ongoing illness, can be distressing for anyone, including children and young people. This fact sheet explains how children and teens can be affected and suggests ways parents can talk with their children about dementia and help them feel secure and involved.

Published by the Alzheimer’s Society. Free online access.

Helping Kids Understand Alzheimer’s Disease (2017)

When a family member has Alzheimer’s, it affects everyone in the family, including children and grandchildren. This article suggests ways to help children and teenagers cope with their feelings and find ways to spend time with the person with Alzheimer’s.

Published by the National Institute on Aging’s Alzheimer’s and related Dementias Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center. Phone: 1-800-438-4380. Email: . Free online access.

Parents’ Guide: Helping Children and Teens Understand Alzheimer’s Disease (PDF, 1.6M) (2013, 11 p.)

This brochure is intended to help parents talk to their children and teenagers so they can understand what’s happening to a relative with Alzheimer’s disease. It outlines the emotions children and teens may feel and how they might express them, as well as questions they may ask. The brochure also suggests activities kids can do with the person with Alzheimer’s and other ways parents can help kids cope.

Published by the Alzheimer’s Association. Phone: 1-800-272-3900. E-mail: . Free online access.

When the Brain Fails to Do Its Work: Dementia Education for High School Students (2010)

This four-part dementia education curriculum for high school students includes an overview of dementia, information about caregiving, community resources in Michigan, and career paths and volunteer opportunities for students interested in working with older adults. The curriculum addresses many issues that teens with Alzheimer’s in the family may face and suggests activities and coping strategies.

Available from Northern Michigan University. Phone: 1-906-227-1000. Free online access.


National Institutes of Health


Managing Medicines for a Person with Alzheimer’s

(National Institutes of Health) People with Alzheimer’s disease may take medicines to treat the disease itself, mood or behavior changes, and other medical conditions. Caregivers can ensure that medicines are taken safely and correctly. Here are some tips to help you manage medications for someone with Alzheimer’s disease.

Learn the Basics

Know each medicine (prescription and over-the-counter) the person with Alzheimer’s disease takes. Ask the doctor or pharmacist:

  • Why is this medicine being used?
  • What positive effects should I look for, and when?
  • How long will the person need to take it?
  • How much should he or she take each day?
  • When does the person need to take the medicine?
  • What if the person misses a dose?
  • What are the side effects, and what can I do about them?
  • Can this medicine cause problems if taken with other medicines?

Managing medications is easier if you have a complete list of them. The list should show the name of the medicine, the doctor who prescribed it, how much the person with Alzheimer’s takes, and how often. Visit Tracking Your Medications: Worksheet for a template. Keep the list in a safe place at home, and make a copy to keep in your purse or wallet. Bring it with you when you visit the person’s doctor or pharmacist.

People with Alzheimer’s should be monitored when they start taking a new drug. Follow the doctor’s instructions and report any unusual symptoms right away. Also, let the doctor know before adding or changing any medications.

Use Medicines Safely

People with Alzheimer’s disease often need help taking their medicine. If the person lives alone, you may need to call and remind him or her or leave notes around the home. A pillbox allows you to put pills for each day in one place. Some pillboxes come with alarms that remind a person to take the medicine.

As Alzheimer’s gets worse, you will need to keep track of the person’s medicines. You also will need to make sure the person takes the medicines or give the medicines to him or her.

Some people with Alzheimer’s take medicines to treat behavior problems such as restlessness, anxiety, depression, trouble sleeping, and aggression. Experts agree that medicines to treat behavior problems should be used only after other strategies that don’t use medicine have been tried. Talk with the person’s doctor about which medicines are safest and most effective. With these types of medicines, it is important to:

  • Use the lowest dose possible
  • Watch for side effects such as confusion and falls
  • Allow the medicine a few weeks to take effect

People with Alzheimer’s should NOT take anticholinergic drugs. These drugs are used to treat many medical problems such as sleeping problems, stomach cramps, incontinence, asthma, motion sickness, and muscle spasms. Side effects, such as confusion, can be serious for a person with Alzheimer’s. These drugs should NOT be given to a person with Alzheimer’s disease. You might talk with the person’s doctor about other options. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Atrovent® (ipratropium)
  • Dramamine® (dimenhydrinate)
  • Diphenhydramine—includes brand names such as Benadryl® and Nytol®

Some people, especially those with late-stage Alzheimer’s, may have trouble swallowing pills. In this case, ask the pharmacist if the medicine can be crushed or taken in liquid form. Other ways to make sure medicines are taken safely:

  • Keep all medications locked up.
  • Check that the label on each prescription bottle has the drug name and dose, patient’s name, dosage frequency, and expiration date.
  • Call the doctor or pharmacist if you have questions about any medicine.


Medicines to Treat Alzheimer’s Disease

There are five medicines available to treat Alzheimer’s disease. It’s important to understand that none of these medicines can cure or stop the disease. What they can do, for some people, is help slow down certain problems, such as memory loss. Slowing down memory loss can allow many people with Alzheimer’s disease to be more comfortable and independent for a longer time.

Visit How Is Alzheimer’s Disease Treated? for more information on medicines to treat Alzheimer’s and behavior symptoms.

Medicines to Treat Other Medical Conditions

Many people with Alzheimer’s disease also have other medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease. They may take different medicines for these conditions. It’s important to track all the medicines they take and take the list with you to every visit to a doctor.

For information about paying for medications, see Saving Money on Medicines.

Read about this topic in Spanish. Lea sobre este tema en español.

For More Information About Managing Medicines and Alzheimer’s

NIA Alzheimer’s and related Dementias Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center
1-800-438-4380 (toll-free)
The National Institute on Aging’s ADEAR Center offers information and free print publications about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias for families, caregivers, and health professionals. ADEAR Center staff answer telephone, email, and written requests and make referrals to local and national resources.

Eldercare Locator
1-800-677-1116 (toll-free)

Alzheimer’s Association
1-800-272-3900 (toll-free, 24/7)
1-866-403-3073 (TTY/toll-free)

U.S. Food and Drug Administration
1-888-463-6332 (toll-free)


National Institutes of Health


Have Fun Today: 101 Things to Do with a Loved One Who Has Alzheimer’s

(ActivityTherapy) Activities can include all aspects of life, including social and religious activities. The two most important activities that you can provide are exercise and music.

Exercise and Music

Here are some ideas for exercise and music.


You may wish to begin your day with exercise and end the day with exercise. This can be chair exercises in the morning and walking later in the day.

Walk: Take short walks if distance is a problem. Have a routine and a set time for walking. Make sure to dress your client in comfortable clothes and proper fitting shoes. Verify that shoe laces are tied. If you are not able to get outside, maybe you can utilize the hallway of the building. Exercise will aide in helping a person to sleep. A stroll in the wheelchair is great exercise, if the person is able to propel themselves.

Chair Exercises: Use props, such as streamers, maracas, batons, pom poms, canes, stretch bands, tambourines, clappers, top hats, scarves, or small hand held balls. (All can of these items can be ordered at wholesale prices through Face the person and have stimulating music playing with an easy to follow rhythm. You may wish to use music from their era, but it is acceptable to use any kind of music that elicits a positive response. Please remember their preference when selecting music. Design a routine that is repetitive and easy to follow. You may wish to start with 20 minutes and build up to 45 minutes as tolerated. Take lots of breaks. Hand held props held develop hand strength and provides a stimulating visual to follow the leader.

Music, Movement and Props are three key elements for a successful exercise program

Parachute: You may purchase a small parachute for a small group. But if you are working with a large group, you may wish to use a larger parachute. Again, use easy to follow music. Take lots of breaks and deep breathing. Please refer to our catalogue page that lists all the many catalogues for parachutes. You may wish to try S & S or Nasco. Routine and structure are very important when planning the day. Exercise and music combined will help in providing a calm and success oriented day. Routine may be boring to the care provider but not to the Alzheimer’s/Dementia Client.


We recommend that the TV be turned off and music played instead. Music may aid in calming, bring back memories and generally add to the quality of life. TV at this point in the illness offers too much stimulation and can be overwhelming. It’s too much information coming too fast for someone with Alzheimer’s and dementia to process. This may lead to agitation.

Some ideas for music: Use CD’s vs. Tapes. CD’s last longer, usually an hour. Tapes require that you are there to turn the tape over when it reaches the end. For those residents who are now bed bound, it would be very important to have a product with a longer duration.

Sing Alongs: Several catalogues have a wonderful selection of sing along music. The Eldersong catalogue has a wonderful product called Sing-A-Long with Eldersong, Volumes 1, 2 & 3. The Beautiful Music Company has a large assortment of music from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. They also carry current tunes. Look for short catchy tunes that are easy to follow. You may wish to take the song books and write the tunes in large letters on poster board and hold these cards up for the residents to follow. For many, the ability to read will be lost. Its not important that they use the right words, only the joy and satisfaction they get in their level of participation. They may tap their finger to the beat, shake an instrument, hum along or even sing along.

We recommend that you use instruments with the sing alongs. Use the same instrument when working with a group, otherwise, it will sound like a bunch of noise. Instruments are available at at wholesale prices.

Name that Tune: Use short catchy tunes that will be easily recognized or remembered. Example: Take Me Out to the Ball Game. You can purchase a CD or you could even just hum the song. See if they can guess it. If they are unable to do this, it may not be an activity to try again. You do not want them to feel bad because they are not able to recall the song.

Relaxation Music: Good for meal times and towards the end of the day. You could play angel, classical or new age music. Try to pick pieces that have an even tempo and something soothing without words. If you use the same music everyday as part of the routine, this may signal that the day is ending and time to start getting ready for bed. We recommend that you do not use nature tapes, ocean music or stream music. For example, to someone with Alzheimer’s and dementia it may not conjure up a memory of a stream running but simply some running water that needs to be turned off.

Activities for Individuals with Early or Middle Stage Alzheimer’s Disease

The following suggestions are recommended for those in the early and middle stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. Many of these activities will spark a memory and may even lead to conversation. PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE FOR THEIR EFFORTS

Kitchen/Food Related Activities

Mash Potatoes: The individual may not be able to read the directions but may be able to hold the fork and whip the potatoes. They may also be able to add the premeasured ingredients as directed by you.

Make Pigs in a Blanket: Ingredients needed are Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, American Cheese Slices and Mini Hotdogs. On a baking dish, assist the individual in taking one cheese slice and placing it on a crescent roll. Add the mini hot dog. Assist the individua in rolling the dough. Repeat until you have used up the container of rolls.

Peel Apples: Use an apple peeler that attaches to your table. Attach an apple. Let the individual peel the apple.

Shuck Corn: Simple task that is easy to do and smells great.

Snap Beans: Simple task to do.Simple cake, muffins, cookies, brownies and pudding mixes

Life Skills

Let them be involved in their day to day routine. It does not matter if its done right, only the act itself.

Provide meaning. Let them touch activities that were a part of their past. This will provide them with a sense of self worth and add to their “Quality of Life.” You may want to drive around in the spring and summer to the many garage sales, thrift shops and rummage sales. Look for items from their past. Old girdles always spark a smile, along with old time irons and products from their past. Let them show you how the products were used. For example, old aprons, are something the generation from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s used. But not necessarily used in the 90’s.

  • Fold Laundry
  • Help you in the kitchen
  • Put groceries away
  • Stuff Envelopes
  • Wash Their Face and Hands
  • Put on Make up
  • Button Clothes
  • Roll Yarn
  • Polish Silver: Use a little cooking oil instead of polish.
  • Fold Napkins
  • Set the Table
  • Clear the Table
  • Water Plants
  • Make the Bed
  • Put Clothes Away
  • Polish Silver
  • Sort a Tray of Silverware
  • Brush the Animals
  • Walk the Animals
  • Use a Feather Duster
  • Use a Spray Bottle with Water on plants
  • Dust furniture
  • Make their Beds
  • Organize and Clean Purses and Wallets
  • Sort and Clean Jewelry Boxes
  • Clean Out a Drawer
  • Make No Bake Recipes: For Example: Fruit Salad, Peanut Butter on Apples/ Crackers
  • Make Potpourri
  • Pick Flowers and Press Into a Book

Intellectually Stimulating Activities

If you are caring for a loved on in your home, you may wish to include a medical adult day care program. If you feel your loved one may refuse to go, you might want to say that they are volunteering at the adult day care center. You as the care giver may need a break several times a week in order to get errands completed. You may also just need to take some time for yourself.Get involved with a senior center that is open to providing additional programs for your loved one.

Sing Alongs, Music Appreciation and Movement to Music: may all spark a memory.

Bingo, Animal Bingo, Food Bingo: If they can not handle the activity of picking up the bingo chips, try having them point to each thing as it is called.

Reminisce: Life Story Review. For example, we are going on a picnic, what would we bring in the picnic basket? Where would we go for the picnic? Some suggestions would be:

  • A day at the beach
  • A ride in the country
  • 1st day at school
  • Getting married
  • Other Reminisce ideas might be the use of

Sensory Boxes: There is a great book out called “Wake Up” that can be ordered through Activity Products International. Please see our catalogue page,  Develop theme sensory boxes. Fill the box with as many items as you can find that are associated with the theme. Bring the items out one at a time and describe them. Have the resident touch the items. Have something to eat or drink that is related to the theme. Have a song that ties the theme together. Have a simple craft to go with the theme. These boxes would be used to stimulate memories and begin conversations. Ideas are endless but here are some suggestions:

  • Babies & items associated with babies
  • Trains
  • A day at the beach
  • Christmas
  • Colors: Red, Blue, Green, Black, etc.
  • Wedding

Simple Word Games, Trivia, Gestures

Example: What’s the opposite of up?

Social Functions:  Please involve the individual as much as possible in parties, social gatherings and children’s events. We suggest planning the day. If you are taking the resident to a function off the unit. Offer encouragement while you are walking. Just the short walk to the dining room to see an entertainer can be frightening. If you are taking your loved one out of the home, have them use the restroom before you leave. Dress them comfortably and sit in an area that is not confining. Some may not be able to travel at all. They may be too confused or anxious to enjoy this.

Activities for Individuals with Middle Stage Alzheimer’s Disease

The following suggestions are recommended for those in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.


Sorting items is a great way to provide a meaningful and purposeful activity. Please make sure that all items provided cannot be easily swallowed. Let them do what comes natural. The point is to spark an interest.

  • Sort by Color Dominoes: These can be purchased from Nasco Catalogues. Place an assortment of colored dominoes on a tray. Provide several containers and place one color in each box for cueing. Help them get started.
  • Sort Socks: Provide several colors of socks and ask them to sort the colors for you.
  • Other sorting ideas would be: buttons, cards by suit, wooden spools, large nuts and bolts, colored plastic milk jug tops, spoons by size and many other ideas.

Roll Yarn: You would be surprised but men like to do this as well. Provide yarn and start rolling it into a ball, then place this in the residents hands and they should continue on with this task. You may need to sit in front of the resident or side-by-side and do the same thing. They should begin “mirroring” you.

Play with Jewelry Boxes: Provide a box with many pieces of large jewelry. Empty the contents and have them place the items back in the box

Play with Tool Boxes: Provide a tool box with many “safe” items found in a tool box. Empty the contents and have them place items back in the box.

Look at Picture Books: Often times, the resident may no longer be able to read or may not recognize loved one pictures. Instead offer picture books. To make these, simply take a thin 3-ring binder, and on construction paper, glue pictures from magazines onto the paper. Make each book a theme. Ideas are endless but some suggestions are, cats, dogs, children, flowers, houses, trains & cows.

To keep the pages nice, you may want to insert the pages into plastic sheet protectors. If you have a resident who mentions a certain topic over and over, you may wish to develop a them book for that topic. For example, he was a farmer and speaks repeatedly about his cows, why not develop a picture book of cows and farm tools.

Cook: Many residents will still enjoy helping with the cooking. A tips or suggestion would be to have everything ready before you begin. Preparation is very important.

Activities for Individuals with End Stage Alzheimer’s Disease

At this stage, the individual has most likely lost the ability to communicate, walk, or feed themselves, and is totally dependent for all their care needs. Even at this stage quality of life is very important. Look at what they still have . . . their five senses. Senses are Vision, Hearing, Touch, Smell and  Taste. Some suggestions would be:

Visual – Eyes

  • Bird Feeders at the Window
  • Fish Tanks or the Fake Fish Tanks
  • Fiber Optic Lights and Black Lights
  • Wind Chimes, Wind Socks and Pennants
  • Interactive Art Works and Pictures
  • Wall Clocks – even if you feel they cannot tell time
  • Mobiles for Their Rooms

Tactile – Touch

  • Pet Therapy (i.e. dogs, cats & rabbits to touch)
  • Pat Mats
  • Dolls & Stuffed Animals (comfort items)
  • Afghans (comfort items)
  • Activity Aprons and Activity Pillows
  • Jewelry Box, with very large pieces, broaches, watches, belt buckles, etc.
  • Fabric Books, Wall Paper Books & Picture Books
  • Hand Massage with Scented Lotions
  • Touch often: Their souls can still feel love.
  • Lots of hugs
  • Pray with them.

Hearing – Auditory

Music, Wind Chimes, Rain Machines, Sound Machines: It is recommended that you use CD’s vs Tapes because they last longer. We recommend that you do not use the radio or talk radio stations. It is too much stimulation and will have no benefit. Advocate that your loved one is taken to music programs if residing in nursing homes. If you feel reading to them will provide stimulation, then please try this. You may wish to use short stories that can be found in Reminisce Magazine. Please refer to the catalogues page for the phone number and information.


  • Aroma Therapy, lavender recommended
  • Scented Candles – unlit
  • Scented Hand Lotions
  • Smell of Cooking Bread and Pies

Taste – Gustatory

Please be very careful what you place in a residents mouth. If they have trouble swallowing, please consult the nurse or physician before placing and food items in their mouth.

Some suggestions for taste: Lollipops for comfort. Sometimes if a resident is crying out or screaming, a lollipop may work as a diversion.

Ice Cream & Ice Pops: Puddings and Jello. Often times, using these types of suggestions can add to the quality of life. A suggestion would be to use these tips during activities of daily living. (Bathing, Dressing, Turning, Toileting, Changing Clothes)


1. Vacuum

2. Iron

3. Bake cookies

4. Read paper

5. Invite children to visit

6. Read a letter out loud

7. Listen to music

8. Parachute game

9. Color/Paint

10. Make lemonade

11. Wipe off table

12. Weed the garden

13. Make Pigs-in-a-Blanket

14. Spelling bee

15. Readers Digest

16. Fold clothes

17. Pet visit

18. Cut out cards

19. Wash silverware

20. Bake bread

21. Sort objects

22. Sing Christmas songs

23. Life Review

24. Put silver away

25. Make a Valentine’s collage

26. Sing songs

27. Take a ride

28. Make a pie

29. Read a poem

30. Dye Easter eggs

31. Sort socks

32. Take a walk

33. String fruit loops

34. String cranberries

35. Sensory Stimulation

36. Look at photos

37. Reminisce

38. Clip coupons

39. Sort poker chip

40. Count things

41. Fold towels

42. Afternoon Tea

43. Reminisce/Inventions

44. Play a game

45. Pain

46. Cut out paper dolls

47. Identify states and capitols

48. Make a family tree

49. Color American Flag

50. Cook hot dogs

51. Grow magic rocks

52. Water house plants

53. Reminisce – first kiss

54. Play horseshoes55. Dance

56. Sing a hymn

57. Make ice cream

58. Plant bulbs

59. Make cards

60. Sort cards by suit

61. Write a letter

62. Dress in team colors

63. Pop popcorn

64. Name the U.S. Presidents

65. Give a manicure

66. Music, Movement & Props

67. Plant a tree

68. Make a may basket

70. Finish a famous saying

71. Feed the ducks

72. Mold dough

73. Picture books

74. Put a simple puzzle together

75. Sand wood

76. Rub on hand lotion

77. Decorate place mats

78. Arrange fresh flowers in a vase

79. Remember famous people

80. Rake leaves

81. Make a fruit salad

82. Sweep the patio or room

83. Talk about famous events

84. Nursery Rhymes. You start

85. Make sandwiches

86. Dust furniture

87. Cut up paper/ Tear paper

88. Take care of bird cage/fish tank.

89. Trace/cut leaves

90. Simple trivia questions

91. Finish Bible quotes

92. Paint with string

93. Cut out pictures

94. Read/listen to a short story

95. Put coins in a jar

96. Sew sewing cards

97. Put seed in bird feeder

98. Clean out pumpkin

99. Roll yarn

100. Reminisce about vacation

101. Make a cake



7 Myths About Alzheimer’s Disease

( It’s one of the most feared brain diseases: Alzheimer’s. It robs people of their memory bit by bit, has no cure — and with an aging population, shows no sign of slowing down.

The media is riddled with stories about its causes, symptoms, and prevention. But some of those reports don’t tell the whole story.

Here are seven common misunderstandings about Alzheimer’s disease and the truths behind them.

1. Myth: Some memory loss is normal.

True, many of us find that our memory isn’t what it once was as we age. But it’s important to distinguish between a busy mind and true memory loss, says James E. Galvin, MD, MPH.

“It may take you longer to remember where you put something or a name, but you’re able to get back to it. That’s not memory loss, that’s aging,” says Galvin, a neurology and psychiatry professor at New York University’s Langone Medical Center.

When should you be concerned? When changes in thinking occur.

“If you’re forgetting important things like loved ones’ names or if [memory loss] impacts your ability to function or there are things you can no longer do because of memory problems, seek evaluation,” says John Ringman, MD, associate clinical professor of neurology at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.

2. Myth: Exercise, diet, and mental activities prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Although many stories in the popular press have advanced the idea that a healthy lifestyle can help prevent Alzheimer’s, the scientific evidence is unclear.

Studies have, indeed, found that eating a healthy diet, engaging in aerobic exercise on a regular basis, staying socially active, and keeping your mind engaged with games and puzzles are linked to lower odds of getting Alzheimer’s. Studies also suggest that “these same lifestyle changes may reduce the progression of symptoms for people who already have Alzheimer’s disease,” Galvin says.

But “it’s not entirely clear that the effect applies in individual cases,” Galvin says. “I’ve known Twinkie-eating couch potatoes who don’t get it and vegan marathon runners who do.”

An even bigger issue here is causation vs. correlation. That is, healthy lifestyles and less likelihood of getting Alzheimer’s disease may be linked (that’s correlation), but it’s not clear that lifestyle is driving that link (that’s causation).

It could be that people with healthy lifestyle habits have other traits working to their advantage. In short, there’s no proof that lifestyle prevents Alzheimer’s disease.

Still, there is no downside to eating healthfully, staying physically and mentally active, and nurturing your relationships. Even if it isn’t proven to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, it’s certainly good for you and your quality of life.

“My approach to that is that it’s a good idea for your general health and there is some evidence that aerobic exercise helps cognition,” Ringman says.

3. Myth: Only old people get Alzheimer’s.

It is true that age is the biggest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease: One out of eight people 65 and older have it.

But there is such a thing as early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, which starts before age 65. It’s rare, accounting for only 5% to 10% of all U.S. Alzheimer’s cases — about 200,000 people.

“People can get it in their 20s, although typical [for early onset] is in the 40s and 50s,” Ringman says.

Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease often has a strong genetic link.

4. Myth: Alzheimer’s is all about genetics.

There are gene mutations that are linked to Alzheimer’s. But there’s more to Alzheimer’s disease than having a rogue gene.

Take the APOE gene, for example. It has several variations, including one that is linked to greater risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease. But not everyone with that APOE variation gets Alzheimer’s, and not everyone with Alzheimer’s has that APOE variation. And that’s just one of several genes linked to Alzheimer’s risk.

So clearly, genetics isn’t everything.

Usually, Galvin says, there is a strong family history with people of every generation getting it at same age.

“But, generally [genetics] are not a very large risk factor,” he says.

Researchers are hunting for more genetic clues. Meanwhile, keep this in mind: There is not one Alzheimer’s gene that seals your fate, and the biggest risk factor for Alzheimer’s, by far, is aging.

5. Myth: Depression causes Alzheimer’s disease.

Depression can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease, but it’s not proven to cause Alzheimer’s disease.

Depression is common. It affects nearly 15 million Americans, including 6.5 million people aged 65 or older.

But not everyone who is depressed gets Alzheimer’s disease. The exact link between the two conditions isn’t clear.

The degree of the depression may matter. “The kind of depression that precedes Alzheimer’s disease is milder, whereas people with depression [without Alzheimer’s] tend to be more severely affected. A suicidal Alzheimer’s patient is extremely rare,” Ringman says.

6. Myth: Dementia is the same as Alzheimer’s disease.

Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a loss of memory caused by changes in the brain. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, but it’s not the only one.

“Everyone with Alzheimer’s disease has dementia but not everyone with dementia has Alzheimer’s disease,” Galvin says.

There are more than 70 different causes of dementia, including strokes, Parkinson’s disease, Lewy body dementia, and Pick’s disease.

7. Myth: Dietary supplements protect the brain.

There is no good evidence showing that dietary supplements prevent Alzheimer’s.

“At least in the supplements and vitamins and minerals that have been vigorously tested, they have uniformly failed to show any benefit,” Galvin says.

The dietary supplements most tested include fish oil, ginkgo biloba, and high-dose vitamins. Other supplements have not been as thoroughly tested for brain-protecting power.

Always tell your doctor about any supplements you’re taking or any memory problems you’re having.



©2005-2017 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.


Home Safety Tips: Preparing for Alzheimer’s Caregiving

(Mayo Clinic) Home safety is important for everyone — but it carries added significance for caregivers. This is especially true if you’re caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease in your home. A throw rug or a stray toy on the steps could easily put your loved one at risk of a fall or injury. To prevent stressful and dangerous situations, consider these home safety tips for caregivers.

Evaluating Home Safety

Start by thinking about your loved one’s behavior, abilities and health. Can your loved one safely walk up and down stairs? Does he or she tend to wander or get up at night? Has he or she fallen before? Then check each room for potential hazards and make a note of any changes you’d like to make. Keep in mind that changing the environment will likely be more effective than trying to change your loved one’s behavior.

Kitchen Safety Tips

In the kitchen:

  • Lock up breakable or potentially dangerous supplies.Install childproof latches on cabinets and drawers to limit access to items such as cleaning products, alcohol, matches, knives and scissors.
  • Prevent access to potentially dangerous appliances. Install safety knobs on the stove to prevent your loved one from turning the stove on or off. Disconnect the garbage disposal.
  • Remove artificial fruits or vegetables or food-shaped magnets. These objects might appear to be edible.

Bedroom Safety Tips

In the bedroom:

  • Install a monitoring device. A baby monitor will help you hear if your loved one falls or needs help. This might be particularly helpful if your loved one has advanced dementia.
  • Take caution when using heating devices. Don’t use portable space heaters in your loved one’s bedroom. If your loved one uses an electric blanket or heating pad, keep the controls out of his or her reach.

If your loved one tends to get up at night to drink, eat or use the bathroom, try to meet these needs before he or she goes to bed.

Living Room Safety Tips

In the main living areas:

  • Avoid clutter. Recycle newspapers and magazines. Keep areas where people walk free of furniture. Keep plastic bags out of reach. Limit knickknacks and other decorative objects. Trim large plants, and remove any plants that might be toxic if eaten.
  • Mark glass doors, windows and furniture. Place a decal on glass at your loved one’s eye level, if possible, to help him or her see glass panes.
  • Take caution when using fireplaces. Don’t leave your loved one alone with an open fire in the fireplace.

Bathroom Safety Tips

In the bathroom:

  • Address slippery surfaces. Place nonskid strips or a mat in the bath tub and shower. Unless the bathroom is carpeted, place nonskid strips on the floor near the bath tub, shower, toilet and sink, too.
  • Install grab bars. Place grab bars near the toilet and in the bath tub and shower.
  • Use a faucet cover in the bath tub. A foam rubber faucet cover can help prevent serious injury if your loved one falls in the bath tub.
  • Install a hand-held shower head. A plastic shower stool also can help make bathing easier.
  • Lock up potentially hazardous products or electrical appliances. Install childproof latches on bathroom cabinets and drawers to limit access to cleaning products or other potentially dangerous items. Use child-restraint caps on medication containers.
  • Reduce water temperature. Set the thermostat on your hot water heater to below 120 F (48.9 C).
  • Remove door locks. Consider removing locks from the bathroom doors to prevent your loved one from accidentally locking himself or herself in.

Laundry Room Safety Tips

In the laundry room:

  • Lock up potentially hazardous products. Install childproof latches on cabinets where you keep detergent and other potentially hazardous supplies.
  • Prevent access to the washer and dryer. Close and latch the doors and lids to the washer and dryer. Consider removing large knobs if your loved one tries to tamper with the machinery.

If the laundry room has a door, consider keeping it locked.

Garage, Shed and Basement Safety Tips

In the garage, shed and basement:

  • Lock up potentially dangerous items. Install childproof latches or locks on cabinets where you keep tools, tackle, machines, sporting equipment, paint, fertilizer, gas, cleaning supplies or other toxic materials. Remove all guns or weapons from your home.
  • Lock all vehicles. Consider covering or removing vehicles and bikes that aren’t frequently used if your loved one has advanced dementia.

Consider locking the doors to these areas as well.

Outdoor Safety Tips

To ensure safety outdoors:

  • Check exits. If your loved one uses a walker or wheelchair, make sure he or she will be able to get in and out of your home — when necessary. Consider widening doorways or adding ramps.
  • Keep steps safe. Mark the edges of steps with bright tape. Keep steps sturdy and textured to prevent falls in wet or icy weather. As an alternative to steps, consider installing a ramp to your home’s entrance.
  • Restrict access to the pool. If you have a swimming pool or hot tub, surround it with a fence. Install a gate with a lock. Cover the pool or hot tub when it’s not in use.
  • Avoid clutter. Keep hoses, foliage and other debris off the walkways.
  • Safely store fuel sources. Remove fuel sources for your grill or other equipment when not in use.

Other Safety Precautions

In addition, consider taking these safety precautions throughout your home:

  • Prepare for emergencies. Display emergency numbers and your home address near all telephones.
  • Adjust the home phone and voice mail settings. Lower the ringer volume of your home phone to prevent distraction and confusion. Set the answering machine or voice mail to turn on after the lowest number of rings. A person who has Alzheimer’s might be unable to take messages or could become the victim of telephone exploitation.
  • Use night lights. Place night lights in strategic locations — such as your loved one’s bedroom and the bathroom — to help prevent your loved one from tripping if he or she gets up at night.
  • Keep stairs safe. Install light switches at the top and bottom of stairs. Make sure stairs have at least one handrail that extends beyond the first and last steps. Cover stairs in carpet or apply nonskid strips. If your loved one has balance problems, consider installing safety gates in front of stairs.
  • Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.Place them in or near the kitchen and all sleeping areas. Check them regularly to make sure they work. If your loved one has vision or hearing problems, consider installing a smoke alarm with a vibrating pad or flashing light.
  • Check the locks. Make sure there are working locks on all windows and front and back doors. Keep a spare set of house keys outside of the house, in case your loved one locks you out.
  • Address outlets and electrical cords. Place lamps close to electrical outlets. Cover unused electrical outlets with childproof plugs.
  • Treat slippery or uneven surfaces. Remove scatter rugs. Place nonskid strips or wax on hardwood and tile floors.
  • Keep computer equipment out of the way. If you store valuable documents on your computer, protect the files with passwords and create backup files. Consider monitoring your loved one’s computer use.

You can buy many products or gadgets necessary for home safety in hardware, electronics, medical supply and children’s stores. If you need help making changes to your home, enlist friends, a home safety professional or a community organization.

Remember, paying attention to home safety can help your loved one maintain his or her independence — and ease the stress of caregiving.


© 1998-2017 Mayo Clinic. All Rights Reserved


“Aging in Place”— Weighing Caregiver Options

(BrightFocus Foundation) Many older adults wish to remain in their home of choice as long as possible. Here are three important elements to consider that can help you successfully “age in place.”

When it comes to aging in place in one’s own home versus aging elsewhere, such as an assisted living facility, older adults—no matter what their condition—almost always want to remain at home. It is comfortable. It is familiar. It is home.

For someone with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, aging in place is a viable alternative to living in a facility, and it comes with many considerations.  What can a family do to make aging in place a reality for their loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia? Below we look at three overall elements—caregiving, safety, and health and well-being, to successfully age in place at home.


To provide caregiving for one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, families have multiple options:

  • Family Caregivers: If a family is considering the option of being the in-home caregiver(s) for one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, it can mean reducing one’s work schedule, taking a leave of absence from work, or quitting one’s job. Leaving one’s job means loss of income, benefits, and professional status.
  • Private Caregivers: In the absence of available family caregivers, privately hired caregivers, available through an agency or by contracting directly with a caregiver, are options. Private duty caregivers are either Certified Nursing Assistants or Home Health Aides.
  • A Combination of Family Caregivers and Private Caregivers: this combination can work well for many, especially when family wants to be helping in the home and involved, but cannot do so on a full time basis. The professional caregivers might cover the weekdays, and the family caregivers the evenings and weekends.
  • Local Senior Centers or Adult Day Care Centers: Enrolling your loved one in a program at the local senior center or Adult Day Center is another option. Senior Centers and Adult Day Centers are available in many communities throughout the U.S. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging to learn the local options.

Over the course of your loved one’s aging process, any or all of these options might be used. Because of this, if a family has privately hired caregivers, it can also be wise to maintain a relationship with a local agency, as one just may be needed in a pinch, or to cover caregiver vacations.

How Does the Caregiver Get Paid?
With agency-provided caregiving, payroll and benefits are managed by the agency. With this arrangement, the family pays the agency each pay period. When a family hires a caregiver privately, the family becomes the employer and manages the payroll and benefits.

Additional caregiving information is available at the Home Care Association of America website at

Safety: A Top Priority

No matter where one lives, safety must be a priority. For a person with Alzheimer’s or other dementia, it will mean different things at different times in the progression of the disease, but it should include the following:

  • Proper indoor and outdoor lighting, locks on doors, area rugs pulled up or taped down, and a clutter-free environment.
  • A kitchen that is safe: the stove and oven knobs are covered to eliminate risk of turning the stove or oven on, sharp kitchen utensils are hidden and/or locked out of sight.
  • The water heater set to a temperature no greater than 120 degrees, an emergency response system if still appropriate for your loved one’s ability, and use of a monitor to hear when he/she gets up during the night.
  • A dementia friendly bathroom: a walk-in shower or bath, grab bars, a shower seat, and a hand shower.
  • When and if the need comes, having a person to contact to install a ramp for wheelchair access.

For more detailed information regarding safety in the home, see our article on making your home dementia friendly.

Health and Well-Being

Health and well-being includes:

  • Consistent medical care with primary care and specialists needed to manage your loved one’s care.
  • Medication management and administration when your loved one can no longer safely manage them independently.
  • Daily exercise—walking, gardening, dancing, tai chi, strength training, and stretching, to name a few.
  • A comfortable bed at a safe height, or a hospital bed if one is more appropriate for their needs; comfortable clothing; and a favorite item that is soothing and relaxing.
  • Socialization—including family gatherings; a few days each week at the senior center; church services; an art class; and other activities and settings your loved one enjoys. Create social events at home with family and friends, and encourage your loved one’s participation in the events. Provide help when they need it.

And You?

Finally, and every bit as important, is to remember that as a caregiver you will need respite—a break from being a caregiver. It is so important, and with it, you are likely to be a better caregiver, and a better you.


By Kathleen Allen, LCSW, C-ASWCM
Senior Care Management Services, LLC

Copyright 2016 BrightFocus Foundation. All rights reserved.


The Emotional Side of Caregiving

(Family Caregiver Alliance) Whether you become a caregiver gradually or all of sudden due to a crisis, or whether you are a caregiver willingly or by default, many emotions surface when you take on the job of caregiving. Some of these feelings happen right away and some don’t surface until you have been caregiving for awhile. Whatever your situation, it is important to remember that you, too, are important. All of your emotions, good and bad, about caregiving are not only allowed, but valid and important.

Many feelings come up when you are caring for someone day in and day out. Many caregivers set out saying, “This won’t happen to me. I love my mother, father, husband, wife, sister, brother, friend, etc.” But after awhile, the “negative” emotions that we tend to want to bury or pretend we aren’t feeling come up. Caregivers are often reluctant to express these negative feelings for fear they will be judged by others (or judge themselves) or don’t want to burden others with their problems.

If you don’t deal with ALL of your emotions, they can be like a two year old who wants your attention: they will keep tugging at you until you stop and acknowledge them. Not paying attention to your feelings can lead to poor sleep, illness, trouble coping, stress eating, substance abuse, etc.  When you admit to your feelings, you can then find productive ways to express them and deal with them, so that you and the care receiver can cope better in the future.

This fact sheet will identify some of the common, often hard to admit, feelings that caregivers experience. Once identified, suggestions for how you might better cope with these feelings are offered.

If only we were perfect we would not feel:

Ambivalence: This is the feeling of both wanting to be doing what you are doing and the feeling of not wanting to be doing it. On bad days, one often has the feeling of wishing you didn’t have to be there, that this ordeal will be over soon. On good days, caring for someone can be a gift to both you and the care receiver.

Coping: Allow yourself to feel both sets of feelings. Everyone has these feelings sometimes. Neither the bad feelings nor the good ones will last forever.

Anger:  How often have you “lost it” while providing care?  Or felt like you were on your last nerve? Anger and frustration are a normal part of being around someone who needs help on an ongoing basis and who might not be accepting of help. Caring for someone with dementia, in particular, can be even harder, as the care receiver can be irrational and combative. It’s not always possible to be in perfect control of your emotions.  Anger “just comes out” sometimes.

Coping: Forgive yourself.  Find constructive ways to express yourself, learn to walk away and give yourself a “time out.” Identify supportive people you can talk to who will listen as you vent about the things that happened that day.

Anxiety: Feeling like things are out of control and not knowing how to bring them back into control often produces feelings of anxiousness. Anxiety can emerge as a short fuse, the impulse to run away, not sleeping, heart palpitations or the urge to cry.

Coping: Pay attention to your anxiety—it is our body’s early warning system that something isn’t right. When you feel anxious: Stop. Breathe. Keep breathing. Pray. Meditate. Make some tea. Anything that will give you a break from what is happening in the moment.

Boredom:  It is easy to become bored when you are stuck at home taking care of someone else and not doing things that fulfill your own wants and needs. And by the end of the day, you are often too tired to pursue something of interest to you.

Coping: Respite can help.  Getting a break from caregiving and having some time for yourself will not only increase your patience and resilience but will give you a chance to do something that is meaningful to you, whether it is socializing, going for a walk or reading a good book.

Crankiness, Irritablility:  When tired and stressed, it is harder to stay in control of the things we say and feel.  Feelings can go up and down very rapidly.  We can lash out at the littlest thing because we have no reserve.

Coping: If you find yourself feeling cranky and irritable, you probably need a break.You also may need to get some rest, as we are in less control when tired. Often we will turn to alcohol or our favorite junk food  to reward ourselves when feeling this way.  It’s more beneficial to keep  a journal or talk with a friend or professional to let off steam.

Depression/Sadness: As a caregiver, you are at risk for depression. Sometimes this is  feeling hopeless or helpless, the inability to sleep or trouble getting up and facing the day. And sometimes it makes you want to cry. (See FCA Fact Sheet Depression and Caregiving.)

Coping: Depression is treatable and should be taken seriously.  Professional help is available.  Talk to your physician if you think you might be depressed, join a caregiver support group, find a counselor who understands care-giving and ask for help from friends and family. Exercise.  Moving your body is a proven way to relieve some of the symptoms of depression.

Disgust: Having to help toilet someone can be too intimate an experience for many caregivers.  If the care receiver is incontinent of stool as well as urine, then changing an adult diaper can be nauseating and repulsive.  Having to clean the private parts of someone, like a parent, can be unnerving and uncomfortable. Watching someone eat sloppily or not care for personal appearance, or having to clean up vomit can also cause feelings of disgust.

Coping: The hardest thing about accepting our revulsion to these things is that the care receiver is not in control of these behaviors. But sometimes we think they are doing it on purpose just to get us. Or we feel guilty because we think we should be accepting but we are not. Finding ways to minimize your need to do personal care is vital to weathering your caregiver journey, which could stretch on for years. Hire an attendant to do routine care or have someone from the family do these things who might cope better. Also, learn tricks to make tasks easier (e.g. during meal times consider using a spoon that is designed to be spill resistant.)

An occupational therapist can help you find this tool and other tools to make meal time easier and more enjoyable for both of you. It’s important to know that when it comes to incontinence, you are not alone. Incontinence is one of the main reasons given for placing someone in a facility. There are resources to aid you in dealing with bathroom problems, like a Webinar entitled Moving Beyond the Leakages: Practical Strategies to Manage Incontinence or a segment from our Caregiver College Video Series on our Video Channel. (Both of these resources are in the Caregiver Education section on our website.)

Embarrassment: Does your care receiver make impolite comments when you are out in public? Does he or she need to use the restroom right away and make a scene as you try to find one?  Does he or she refuse to bathe and now have body odor? It is easy for us to feel responsible for the behavior of someone else and feel like it is our fault when these things happen.

Coping: Some people create cards (similar to business cards) which read, “My loved one has dementia and can no longer control their behavior” which they hand  out to those around them when they are having trouble, especially in restaurants. Some people just stop leaving the house because this is such a difficult problem to manage, it’s  easier to stay home. Others have friends,family members or an attendant accompany them when they go out to offer assistance, when needed.

Fear: What if something happens? Will I be able to cope? Will I feel guilty? Am I responsible for things that go wrong? Caregivers take on a huge amount of responsibility, not only for the day to day care of the care receiver, but also for all the other things that “might” happen while being a caregiver.  Scaring ourselves about the “what ifs” can be paralyzing and keep us from enjoying the “what is.”

Coping:  It is important to have contingency plans. So, it might make sense to have a back up caregiver in mind in case something should happen to you, or to think about how you would handle predictable medical emergencies based on what disabilities your care receiver has. When you get scared, it is often helpful to talk to someone who knows your situation and can give you perspective and calm your fears.

Frustration: Frustration is part of many other feelings, such as ambivalence, anger and impatience. Sometimes, as a caregiver, you feel that you can’t do anything right or that things just don’t go as planned no matter what you do or how hard you try. And if you are tired, you are more likely to get frustrated. Frustration may lead to stress eating, substance abuse, and a higher likelihood of losing your temper.

Coping: Acknowledge how frustrating caregiving can be.  Join a support groupto learn the tricks other caregivers have learned to make coping easier. Get breaks from caregiving so you have time for YOU and a chance to refresh your energy.  Exercise. Sleep.

Grief: Watching the care receiver decline, not being able to do things that used to be easy and natural is sad.  We also grieve for the care receiver, the person who used to be and our relationship with that person. We often need to grieve the loss we are experiencing on a daily basis or it will come out as something else.

Coping: Sometimes creating a ritual can be helpful. One caregiver would write on a piece of paper the things her husband could no longer do, then  go to the ocean and throw the pieces in the water as a way of letting go. We tend to want to avoid the sadness that comes with grief, but allowing ourselves to feel (it) promotes healing. (See FCA Fact Sheet Grief and Loss.)

Guilt: Guilt is the feeling we have when we do something wrong.  Guilt in caring for care receivers comes in many forms.  There is guilt over not having done enough to have prevented them from getting sick in the first place. There is guilt over feeling like you want this to end. Or guilt over having been impatient with your care receiver too much. There is guilt over not loving or even liking the care receiver at times. There is guilt over not doing enough for the care receiver or not doing a good enough job as a caregiver. And if the care receiver falls or something else happens, there is guilt about it being your fault that it happened. And sometimes caregivers feel guilty about thinking of their own needs and see themselves as selfish, especially if they should do something like go to a movie or out to lunch with a friend.

Coping: You need permission to forgive yourself. You can’t be perfect 24/7. It’s impossible to be in perfect control of how you feel at all times. We all carry around a lot of “shoulds,” such as “No one  will do as good of a job as I do, so I have to be here all the time.” Or  “If I leave and something happens, I will never forgive myself.” Consider changing guilt into regret, “I’m in a difficult situation and I have to make difficult decisions sometimes.” “I regret that I am human and get impatient sometimes.” “I am dong the best I can even though things go wrong from time to time and I regret that I am not perfect.”

Impatience: How difficult is it to get your care receiver up in the morning? How about up, dressed, given breakfast and to their doctor’s appointment all before 10am? And you have other things to accomplish that day..  All this and the care receiver is acting unhelpful and moving slowly. Perhaps the care receiver refuses to  use his walker even though he has fallen many times and the doctor and physical therapist emphasized  he always needs to use it.  It is understandable that you would get impatient at times.

Coping:  Forgive yourself. When tired, frustrated and trying to keep things under control, it’s natural to want to speed up and have compliance from the care receiver to keep them safe and healthy. So, first, slow  down.  Leave a lot of time to accomplish tasks. Leave a LOT of time. Control the environment as much as you can, but know you can’t always prevent your father from taking off without his walker. Create a list of the things you are in control of and are not. Understand what you can and cannot control.

Jealousy: Do you sometimes feel jealous of your friends who are able to go out and do things that you can no longer do, because of your caregiving responsibilities? Are you jealous of your siblings who are not doing their share to help? Do you feel jealous of a friend whose parent died quickly and easily while you take care of a parent who has had dementia for many years?  Are we jealous of someone who got a big inheritance since we are struggling to pay bills and to be a good caregiver? We often don’t admit to this feeling, because we have always been told not to be jealous.  But that doesn’t mean that we don’t, in fact, feel jealous from time to time, of those who have it easier or better than us.

Coping: It’s okay to admit to being jealous. Because things are not fair, we often have flashes of resentment and envy at other people’s good fortune compared to our own. Jealousy is a problem when  we  wallow in it and prevent ourselves from enjoying the things we DO  have.  Focus on what you do have, whatever they may be and find a place in your heart for gratitude.

Lack of Appreciation: Most of us do not want to be dependent on someone else.  Learning to accept help is hard.  So, the care receiver is often pushing away our attempts to be helpful and caring.  If someone has dementia, this problem is often much worse. And we get our feelings hurt because the care receiver does not thank us or even see how much we are giving up in order to care for them.

Coping: Sometimes we have to give ourselves our own pat on the back. Writing in a journal about the things you do each day might help  you to appreciate how much you give and how much you do. Having  a support group or a group of friends/family to cheer you on is important, and both comforting and necessary to remain resilient through your caregiving journey.

Loneliness: The longer you are a caregiver, the more isolated you become. With no one to talk to day in and day out except the care receiver, it is easy to lose a sense of yourself. Friends stop calling since we are no longer available and we hesitate to call them because we know “they don’t want to hear about it any more” or “I have nothing to talk about because my life is all about caregiving.”

Coping: Find ways to get out of the house and involved in something other than caregiving.  Learn about resources from your local Area Agency on Aging about respite programs or day care programs that will allow you to get a much needed and well deserved break.  No one can do this job alone.  Look at your wider circle of support—faith community, neighbors, friends, distant relatives, etc. to see where you might get some nurturing for you.

Loss: Caregivers experience many losses, some of which have already been mentioned: loss of control, loss of independence, loss of income, loss of your best friend, loss of the future, loss of a sense of yourself.  Loss leads to grief and depression.

Coping: Identifying your losses can help you to cope with them.  For each of us, the losses will be different.  When you know what you are feeling, you will be able to look at the loss and think about what might work for you to help you deal with it. (See FCA Fact Sheet Caregiving and Ambiguous Loss.)

Resentment: When put in a situation not of our choosing, it’s not uncommon to feel negative and resentful. Perhaps, you have siblings who are not helping provide care or maybe you are an only child, became the caregiver by default, and feel you have very little desire or support to offer care. Little things easily become big things when we feel unappreciated and unacknowledged. And feeling like you have to do it all, and do it all by yourself, is a guaranteed way to feel resentment.

Coping: Family situations and dynamics can be a real challenge. Having help from family may make your situation easier, but sometimes family tensions make it even harder to get help (See FCA Fact Sheet Caregiving with Your Siblings.) The more help and support you accept, the easier it will be to let go of feeling burdened and resentful of those who are not doing their share. If family tensions are getting in the way, it could also help you to refer to the FCA Fact Sheet Holding a Family Meeting. If you can’t get help from the people you think should be offering it, then you need to broaden your circle of people to include those who can and will help. It is easy to forget about the good things that have happened or are happening when we only focus on the negative.

Tiredness: As a caregiver, how often do you get the full eight hours of sleep they always say you need?  Sleep is often postponed while you grab a few minutes of alone time after the care receiver goes to bed.  Sleep is often disturbed because the care receiver gets up at night and needs help going to the bathroom or being re-directed back to bed.  Sleep is often disturbed because you can’t fall asleep or stay asleep because you are worrying  about all the stressors that  come with being a caregiver.

Coping: Sleep has to be put on the priority list.  Lack of sleep leads to obesity, illness, crankiness, impatience, inefficiency in accomplishing tasks , and a state of mental fogginess among other issues.  If you are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep not related to direct caregiving, talk to your physician. If you are having trouble sleeping due to caregiving problems, talk to the care receiver’s physician. There are ways to help both of you to get the rest you need. As a caregiver, you do amazing work caring for others in need. But as a caregiver, you also need to think about yourself. (See FCA Fact Sheet Taking Care of YOU: Self Care for Family Caregivers, and also the Fact Sheet Caregiver Health. Just pushing through each day will eventually wear you out and cause you to burn out. Emotional issues can weigh you down and impact not only your ability to cope and provide care, but they can also harm your health and well being. It is important to learn to ask for help and prioritize getting breaks from caregiving, so that you can be the caregiver you want to be.


Family Caregiver Alliance
National Center on Caregiving

785 Market Street, Suite 750
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 434-3388
(800) 445-8106

Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) seeks to improve the quality of life for caregivers through education, services, research and advocacy.  Services include: comprehensive website for families and  professionals; on-line and printed versions of fact sheets covering a wide range of topics related to caregiving and brain disorders.

FCA’s National Center on Caregiving offers information on current social, public policy and caregiving issues and provides assistance in the development of public and private programs for caregivers, as well as a toll-free call center for family caregivers and professionals nationwide.

For San Francisco Bay Area residents, FCA provides direct family support services for caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, ALS, head injury, Parkinson’s and other debilitating brain disorders that strike adults.

Recommended Reading

The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers: Looking After Yourself and Your Family While Helping an Aging Parent, 2006

Self Care for Caregivers: A Twelve Step Approach, Samples, Pat, 2000

Passages in Caregiving: Turning Chaos into Confidence, Sheehy, Gail, 2011

FCA Fact Sheets

All FCA Fact Sheets are available online at Print versions are available to purchase online by visiting

Caregiving and Ambiguous Loss
Caregiving With Your Siblings
Caregiver Health
Depression and Caregiving
Grief and Loss
Holding a Family Meeting
Taking Care of YOU: Self Care for Family Caregivers


601 E Street, NW
Washington DC 20049
(888) 687-2277

Alzheimer’s Association
225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17
Chicago, IL 60601-7633
(312) 335-8700
(800) 272-3900


Copyright © 2016 Family Caregiver Alliance. All rights reserved.