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A Beginner’s Guide To Alzheimer’s caregiving

When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or any other type of Dementia, it can be daunting and intensely overwhelming for their family. The disease not only affects the person diagnosed with it but the entire family, especially the primary caregiver. Well, we are all aware that there is no cure for Dementia, and the medical treatments available for the symptoms are also limited. Hence, a patient’s journey depends significantly on family’s care and support combined with professional Alzheimer’s home health care assistance. No patient is the same, and neither will be the caregiving experience. However, in this article, we have included strategies to help you as a caregiver and make your caregiving experience smoother for the patients suffering from Alzheimer and dementia.

How to efficiently care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia

Alzheimer’s and Dementia are something that disturbs you round the clock. However, following these tips, you will be able to take care of your loved one suffering from this disease in an efficient manner. Let’s take a look.

1. Prepare a Road Map

The sooner you begin planning for the arduous journey ahead, the more your loved one can be involved in the decision-making process. Educate yourself about the disease, its different stages, and the associated symptoms of mild, moderate, and severe stages. This will help you foster realistic expectations and reduce frustration in the years to come. Consult with a professional expert and other members of your family to make legal and financial decisions, and to devise a long-term plan that will best suit you and your loved one. There are several important factors to consider, such as –

  • Financial arrangements and responsibilities
  • Determining who will take on the role of primary caregiver and what other family members will contribute
  • Where would the patient like to live
  • Whether to hire professional health caregivers or not

2. Develop a routine

In the early stages of Dementia and Alzheimer’s, a caregiver needs to set a routine for their loved one. An ideal routine should give the patient a sense of consistency without taking away their independence. Try to keep consistent times for waking up, eating meals, bathing, dressing, receiving visitors, etc. In the initial stages of Alzheimer’s, your loved one will still have a lot of capabilities, so include diverse activities that require active participation on whatever level is possible. Keeping them engaged and active will make their quality of life and your caregiving journey better.

3. Do’s and Don’ts of Communication

As Dementia progresses, you will notice a change in the way your loved one communicates. The impact varies from person to person, but the most common changes you may observe are losing a train of thought in the middle of a sentence, using fewer words and more gestures, and extreme confusion. Being unable to communicate properly can be disturbing for the entire family, especially the caregiver. However, keeping this list of do’s and don’ts in mind can help.

The Dos

  • Keep the communication short, simple, and straightforward.
  • Try to speak as slowly as possible. They might take longer than usual to process the information.
  • Be as specific as possible. Do not be ambiguous.

The Don’ts

  • Don’t point out their memory difficulty. Avoid making remarks such as “I told you just now” “why can’t you remember it”.
  • Don’t lose your calm during their outbursts.
  • Don’t use patronizing language or “baby talk.” It may make them feel patronized and will hurt their feelings.

4. Consider hiring a professional

In the later stages of the disease, providing 24/7 support to your loved one with Alzheimer’s and Dementia gets increasingly challenging. Consider hiring a professional for Alzheimer’s home healthcare assistance. The caregivers are highly trained and qualified to support you in taking care of your loved one. The patient can get personalized treatment and care without leaving the comfort of their home.

5. Join support groups

Taking care of an Alzheimer’s or Dementia patient and balancing work and family can be extremely stressful. Join a support group, where you can meet people going through the same struggle you face and sharing your experiences. Aside from having another support system to help you through difficult times, the group can also help you learn a lot about the disease, its progression, and patient behavior, which will help you a lot and make you a better caregiver.

Wrapping Up

Caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease may experience a vast range of positive and negative emotions when helping their loved ones. We hope that the tips included in this article help you care for your loved one and yourself. As the condition progresses, caregiving becomes more challenging, and caregivers may require help from other family members or professional healthcare services. If you live in or near Winston Salem and are looking for a helping hand, contact Piedmont Home Care at 336-724-1197.

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