TAKING ACTION: Alzheimer’s Association warns caregivers to take time for their own health

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - For many caregivers, tending to an Alzheimer's patient requires their full attention. Alzheimer's disease experts said the caregiver's health could even decline faster than the patient.

Brenda Stephens has devoted nearly two decades of her life to those battling Alzheimer's disease.

"What we know is that caregivers are very stressed," Diversity Outreach Coordinator Michelle Cain said.

This stress is what prompted the Mid-South chapter of the Alzheimer's Association to host a family care fair.

"We're coming to you," Cains said. "We know that you're not going to reach out to us until you absolutely have no where else to turn. So, we have designed programs to give to the caregivers to help them before they get to that point where they're overwhelmed."

Diversity Outreach Coordinator Michelle Cain said it is vital for a caregiver to take a break every so often.

"A caregiver's health declines sometimes faster than the person that they're caring for," Cain said.

The Alzheimer's Association encourages caregivers to take care of their physical, mental and nutritional health.

"In order to give your loved one the best care possible, you have to take care of yourself," Cain said.

Just like Alzheimer's patients don't fight alone, neither should their caregivers.

"You have to find a way to open up your village and let other people help you," Cain said. "Build a care network."

For more information about Alzheimer's care and about the Alzheimer's Association, visit www.alz.org.