Care Partner Support

The term “care partner” is used to describe a person who may be in the position of caring for or caring about someone (i.e. a family member, friend, neighbor, colleague, etc) living with Alzheimer’s. We recognize that these responsibilities can be challenging and, at times, overwhelming. Finding the right balance between caring for a loved one and maintaining your own health is important. It may be helpful to connect with other care partners, ask for (and accept!) help when you need it, and allow yourself proper time to rest. It’s also important to understand your own emotions and take care of your own needs to be the best care partner you can be.

Who Are Care Partners?


Americans provide unpaid care for people living with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia


of care partners are women


of care partners are aged 65 years or older


of care partners are helping a parent or an in-law


of care partners are part of the “sandwich generation,” which means they are caring for both an aging parent and at least one child

Care Partner Emotions

Although 45% of care partners consider caregiving very rewarding, caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's can be an ongoing, emotional process. Addressing these emotions can help reduce the stress felt by a care partner.

Emotions That You May Experience As a Care Partner


You may have trouble accepting that a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, which can affect your ability to care for that person


It’s normal to fear the progression of the disease and the increasing challenges that come with it


Uncertainty about what to expect for the person living with Alzheimer’s can lead to stress


Feeling anger or frustration because of an Alzheimer's diagnosis is common. These feelings can be accompanied by a sense of loss of control over the future and of how that diagnosis can affect your own life


Sadness or a sense of loss may lead to feelings of hopelessness. Seek professional help if you start to have these feelings

Care Partner—Tips for Staying Healthy

Visit Your Doctor

Visit Your Doctor

Don't forget to visit your doctor regularly (including for annual wellness checks). Take seriously any exhaustion, stress, sleeplessness, or changes in behavior.



It may be challenging to find time to exercise, but even taking a short walk can help lower stress and keep you physically healthy. You can even choose to be active with the person you are caring for by taking walks together, doing light exercises at home, or gardening.

Eat Well

Eat Well

Healthy eating patterns (including limiting red meat and focusing on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, and other healthy fats) are good for overall health and may help protect the brain.

Care Partner—Tips for Helping You Cope

  • Manage Stress: Stress can cause physical problems and changes in behavior. Talk with your doctor if you are experiencing physical or emotional symptoms. It’s helpful to try relaxation techniques, such as mentally picturing a place that is calm and peaceful, meditation, breathing exercises, or tightening and then relaxing each muscle group
  • Recognize Emotions: The range of emotions you may be feeling (sometimes at the same time) is a natural part of caregiving. It’s important to recognize and identify these emotions and face both the positive and negative feelings
  • Be Realistic: Understand that your caregiving is making a difference, but that some behaviors of dementia can’t be controlled
  • Know You’re Doing Your Best: You may feel guilty that you cannot do more to help your loved one, but know that you’re doing your best to make sure that they are well cared for and safe
  • Accept Help and Take Breaks: It’s okay—and normal—to need a break. Ask for help from family and friends. Also, in-home care services and adult day care centers can help you take some time off
  • Accept Changes: Alzheimer’s disease progresses in stages, and the needs of your loved one may change over time. Accept changes as they occur and plan for support from in-home care services, etc, if needed
  • Find Support and Resources: Share your emotions with someone you trust. You can also connect with the greater Alzheimer’s community and other care partners for support
  • Take Care of Yourself: One of the best things you can do as a care partner is take care of yourself by paying attention to your own physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Ask for support when you need it, do things you enjoy, maintain your relationships, and enjoy the humorous moments in life

Additional Resources

Get more resources and information on mild cognitive impairment (MCI), dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.