Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s? You might be the invisible patient

Post Thumbnail

There are a huge number of experiences and emotions people go through when living with Alzheimer’s.

However, we often forget the impact that Alzheimer’s has on the family members and carers of someone suffering from the disease, which is why they are sometimes referred to as the ‘invisible patients’.

Accept your feelings

Alzheimer’s has a huge effect on the mental health of the carer. They may feel an array of emotions, from guilt and grief to anger and frustration.

Alzheimer’s often changes the personality and behaviour of the patient to varying degrees; they may look like the same person but psychologically they will change over time.

This means family members need to adjust and some may have started the grieving process as, depending on the severity of the condition, they feel as though they have already ‘lost’ their loved one. This is known as ‘anticipatory grief’ and our brains can find it harder to process.

When someone dies and we say goodbye, we often try to remember the positive memories to help us cope.

However, when you are processing ‘anticipatory grief’ you are more likely to focus on feelings of sadness, which can lead to depression in the longer term.

Tell yourself it’s ok to allow yourself to feel grief and try to accept what you are feeling is only normal.

Remind yourself that everyone experiences grief differently and just because your family member hasn’t yet passed away it doesn’t mean it’s any less important to express your emotions.

Talk to those who can relate to you

Has your family member’s symptoms led them to become more aggressive or child-like? This can cause frustration, as well as anger, for carers and family members dealing with this type of behaviour day-to-day.

You may also feel resentment and anger towards other family members who perhaps aren’t doing their fair share to help out.

Find support from people who can relate to what you’re going to, whether it’s a family member, or an online forum or support group or a local charity. Speaking to someone who is going through similar experiences to you, and feeling similar emotions, can help you feel as though you’re not alone.


Carers sacrifice a lot to look after their loved ones. You might have a full-time job or young children to look after, and any spare time you have is dedicated to looking after your family member.

This means many carers can feel overwhelmed and under pressure to keep up with their normal routine, whilst also taking on the role of carer. This can lead to high levels of stress and anxiety, especially if you aren’t getting enough sleep.

Try to ensure you prioritise your own needs first – eat a balanced diet, get a reasonable amount of sleep and get enough exercise.

As well as helping to release any pent-up anger and frustration, exercise produces feel-good hormones in our bodies, which helps reduce stress and re-focus our minds.

Take time for yourself

Did you know 83% of carers have felt socially isolated? You may feel guilty leaving your loved one to go out and enjoy yourself, or you are simply feel too tired to leave the house.

By not taking a break and focusing on your mental health, you are more likely to suffer from depression.

Set aside some time each week where you do something you enjoy, such as going to your favourite gym class, meeting friends, reading a book or going to the pub.

Socialising can help to reduce feelings of depression, loneliness and stress and provide a welcome outlet.

Seek help and support

If you feel as though you are struggling to cope speak to a counsellor, your GP or local Alzheimer’s support group. Seeing a friend or family member suffer from Alzheimer’s is a painful process.

However, too many carers neglect their own mental health in the process, which can make the job of caring even harder.

Professor Ewan Gillon, chartered psychologist and clinical director of First Psychology Aberdeen