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Reducing Stress

Living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia brings demands to your life that can result in stress. But too much stress can be overwhelming and affect your health and ability to function. Taking steps to reduce stress can help improve concentration, decision-making and your quality of life.

Symptoms of stress

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Each of us handles stress differently. But it can diminish your quality of life if not managed properly. If stress becomes too much for you, or you find you're coping with additional alcohol or medication, see your doctor. Ignoring symptoms can cause your physical and mental health to decline. It’s important to recognize the warning sign of stress:

  1. Denial: Are you having a difficult time acknowledging your diagnosis and the effect it will have on you and your family?
  2. Anger/frustration: Do you find yourself frequently angry with others because they don’t understand what you’re going through?
  3. Social withdrawal: Do you find yourself withdrawing from friends and family, and activities that once brought you pleasure?
  4. Anxiety: Do you find yourself feeling frequently anxious about the future?
  5. Depression: Are you experiencing any symptoms of depression? 
  6. Exhaustion: Do you feel so exhausted that it makes it nearly impossible to complete necessary daily tasks?
  7. Sleeplessness: Do you lose sleep frequently because of the concerns you have?
  8. Irritability: Do you feel moodier than usual or frequently lose your temper?
  9. Lack of concentration: Do you have a difficult time staying focused on tasks or conversations with others?
  10. Health problems: Are you experiencing physical symptoms that may be taking a mental or physical toll?

Tips to reduce stress

  • Identify sources of stress in your life. Remove yourself from these situations whenever possible.
  • Address the triggers that are causing you stress, and accept help with these situations. Work on changing how you view the situation. Even the most difficult situation may have both negative and positive aspects. Challenge yourself to look for the positive whenever possible.
  • Establish boundaries and let others know your limits. What are you willing to tolerate and what are you not? Be as open as possible about this with others.
  • Learn what works best to relax you. Use these techniques regularly when feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
  • Talk with a trusted family member or friend about how you’re feeling.
  • Change your environment. For example, if you are in an environment that has too much stimulation that is causing you stress, find a quiet place where you can relax and regroup.
  • Take breaks when you need to. Also, get plenty of rest to help conserve your energy.
  • Let it go. If something becomes too difficult for you, come back to it later.
  • Use relaxation techniques. Examples include: Yoga or meditation; exercising/walking; writing your thoughts and feelings in a journal; gardening; listening to music; or watching a favorite television program that you find relaxing or enjoyable.

 


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