Alzheimer’s is a difficult disease to deal with for both families and their afflicted loved one. While life can still be enjoyable with dementia, it is certainly more difficult to achieve a stable quality of life. This hardship can be passed on to family members attempting to handle care all by themselves instead of utilizing assisted living homes or memory care centers. Unfortunately, many caregivers don’t receive the support they need, and so dementia ends up destroying two lives.

Being an unpaid caregiver for a family member with dementia can be exhausting, yet it still happens with surprising regularity. In fact, unpaid caregivers provide roughly 18.2 ​billion​ hours of care, which equates to a value of $230 million dollars, according to 2016 statistics.

While spending time supporting and caring for aging loved ones is valuable, assisted living homes and skilled professionals can ensure your family member receives the support and medical attention they deserve.

So, why do family members volunteer their time, and why ​shouldn’t​ they?

A senior man and a therapist talk together in an office

1. Guilt

One reason a single family member might try to take on the job of several specialized caregivers is out of guilt. Not that family members feel guilty about the disease itself, but that they ​would​ feel guilty sending their loved one to an assisted living home. This misguided stigma has kept many seniors from receiving the specialized care they need.

2. Worry

Another reason people often shoulder the burden of dementia care is that they worry about their loved one not being happy in a memory care center. This isn’t necessarily justified since memory care centers will have more hands to help with daily difficulties than you could possibly manage to have by yourself.

A senior man touching his temples as if he has a headache

3. Time

The finite nature of time is one of the reasons you shouldn’t attempt to care for a loved one with dementia alone. It will take up all of your free time and then some, leaving you drained, overstretched, and often will affect your work performance.

4. Stress

Having all of your time occupied can become stressful quite quickly. When this happens, tensions might start to fray with your loved one, even though it isn’t their fault. Caring for someone you love is emotional, physically demanding, and epitomizes stressfulness.

Attempting to care for a loved one with Alzheimers is a noble and loving gesture, but it often backfires. This could make the quality of care they receive much worse than it ever could be at an assisted living home. For the sake of your loved one’s happiness, make arrangements with a trusted memory care center nearby.