Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia often involves a team of people. Whether you provide daily caregiving, participate in decision making, or simply care about a person with the disease — we have resources to help.
Tip 1: Prepare
The more you learn about the Alzheimer’s and how it progresses over the years, the better you’ll be able to prepare for future challenges, reduce your frustration, and foster reasonable expectations. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, for example, you can support independence and self-care, but their cognitive and physical regression means they will ultimately require 24-hour care.
Tip 2: Develop a personal support plan
Balancing the enormous task of caring for a cognitively-impaired adult with your other responsibilities requires skill, attention, and meticulous planning. By focusing so diligently on your loved one’s needs, it’s easy to fall into the trap of neglecting your own welfare. If you’re not getting the physical and emotional support you need, you won’t be able to provide the best level of care, and you face becoming overwhelmed.
Tip 3: Cope with changes in communication
As your loved one’s Alzheimer’s or dementia progresses, you’ll notice changes in communication. Trouble finding words, increased hand gestures, easy confusion, even inappropriate outbursts are all normal. Here are some do’s and don’ts on communicating with your loved one:
Tip 5: Dealing with behavior
One of the major challenges of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another dementia is coping with the troubling behavior and personality changes that often occur. These behaviors include aggressiveness, wandering, hallucinations, and eating or sleeping difficulties that can be distressing to witness and make your role as caregiver even more difficult.
Tip 6: Make time for reflection to help with acceptance
One of the biggest challenges as a caretaker for someone with dementia is to accept what is happening to your loved one. At each new stage of the disease, you have to alter your expectations about what your loved one is capable of. By accepting each new reality and taking time to reflect on these changes, you can better cope with the emotional loss, and deepen the feelings of satisfaction in your caregiving role.