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Things to consider when caring for someone with Alzheimer's

Jan Kiecolt-Glaser and her husband, Ron Glaser, have been married for decades. They worked together just as long, but their lives forever changed when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2014. (WSYX/WTTE)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- Caring for someone with Alzheimer's can have a high emotional impact. There are different avenues to help ease the stress.

"Ron was my best friend as well as my collaborator," said Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, researcher at OSU Wexner Medical Center.

Kiecolt-Glaser and her husband, Ron Glaser, have been married for decades. They worked together just as long.

"He was warm. He was funny. He was a really great scientist," said Kiecolt-Glaser.

What the two studied about spouses as caregivers became Jan's reality.

"In 2014, he was diagnosed with early Alzheimer's and in the next year he progressed really, really rapidly," said Kiecolt-Glaser.

Ron Glaser, an immunologist and distinguished scholar, could no longer think or speak clearly. She kept him home until she could no longer manage on days without in-home help.

"He was very confused and he could do things that were dangerous," said Kiecolt-Glaser.

Ron has a family history of Alzheimer's. Jan stressed to families to seek a diagnosis early should you begin to see the signs.

"There are some medications that can help with symptoms," said Kiecolt-Glaser.

Make sure your finances are in order too.

"There will be a point where if the house is in your spouse's name or in both your names, you wouldn't be able to easily sell," said Kiecolt-Glaser.

Also have a healthy lifestyle. Jan said stress on caregivers alters your response to flu vaccines, causes a rise in inflammation and slows wound healing.

"Making sure you have good support system. Exercising is really important. [So is] eating healthily," said Kiecolt-Glaser.

Jan said care giving is often viewed as living bereavement. She keeps cherished moments close to heart.

"You watch the person you love disappearing and I watched him disappear," said Kiecolt-Glaser.

Ron now lives in a memory care unit. If you think you need a care facility, Jan highly recommends getting on a waiting list as early as possible.

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