Advice for Dementia: Support for Caregivers

By Dara Kushnir

Caring for someone with dementia can be demanding and mentally exhausting, but it is also important to maintain and strengthen your relationship. Individuals with dementia experience memory problems, impaired judgment, difficulty communicating, and confused thinking more severe than normal aging. In the most severe stage, they are completely dependent on others for even their basic needs, such as hygiene and food. Therefore, finding ways to handle the challenges caregivers often face is essential so both you as a caregiver and the person who has dementia enjoy spending time together.

  1. Know your limits – As much as you want to be able to manage everything, you are only one person. Remember to focus on what’s important and don’t be too hard on yourself about things you can’t manage. Taking breaks allows you to reflect and relax.
  2. Coping with changes – It can be difficult to see the person you care for struggling with things they used to be able to do. It is important to focus on what they can do and support these things rather than what they can’t do.
  3. Address difficult emotions – you may feel isolated, angry, frustrated, or even guilty with your situation. These are very common reactions when caring for someone with dementia and should not make you feel shame. Figuring out how to deal with these feelings is vital though, because they can have a negative impact on your wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of the recipient of your care. Just being there and caring for your loved one helps them immensely.
  4. Be in the moment – Acceptance is a reoccurring, crucial part of caring for a person with dementia. Those with significant memory loss may not be able to discuss things they used to do or participate in certain activities. They can still enjoy things directly in front of them such as looking at photographs and playing simple games, and your company.
  5. Ask for help – Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support. Involving family and friends or voluntary organizations can provide you with support and reduce your stress. It may also help to talk about dementia to others to help them understand what you are doing and suggest ways others can help.


If you or someone you know needs help coping with the dementia of a family member, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit

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