Caregiving for Alzheimer's: Moving from Upheaval to Support
If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease, you know how challenging it can be. If you are new to caregiving you may be feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Just know that this is all normal. You were not trained to care for someone with Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer's care requires patience, compassion, and understanding. In this post, we will discuss some important information about caregiving for Alzheimer's disease. So take a deep breath and let's start with the basics.
1. What is Alzheimer's disease?
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disorder. The disease affects memory, thinking, and behavior. And It is the number one cause of dementia in older adults. Alzheimer's disease usually begins slowly, and the symptoms get worse over time. There is currently no cure for Alzheimer's disease. But there are treatments that can help manage the symptoms. Alzheimer's disease is one type of dementia. Each type of dementia has different and similar symptoms. Today we will focus on the symptoms of Alzheimer's. More importantly, we will discuss caregiving for Alzheimer's.
2. What are the common challenges of caregiving for Alzheimer's disease?
Caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease can be physically and emotionally challenging. Navigating a world you have just stepped into can be frightening. The caregiver may experience caregiver stress. And this can lead to exhaustion, depression, and anxiety. Additionally, the person with Alzheimer's disease may have difficulty communicating, behaving inappropriately, or becoming agitated. These behaviors can be challenging for the caregiver to manage.
But the most common challenge of caregiving is that it is a 24/7 job. Alzheimer's disease does not stop because the caregiver is tired or needs a break.
3. What are some tips for managing caregiver stress?
Managing caregiver stress is essential for the caregiver's well-being.
1. You Must Find a Way to Take Regular Breaks.
Reach out to friends and family. If you need to hire a caregiver to help you. If these solutions fail contact the Area Agency on Aging. They may be able to find respite care for someone caregiving for Alzheimer's. Without regular breaks, a caregiver may find they become depressed, angry, and anxious.
The Alzheimers patient will pick up on these strong emotions and it could cause behavior symptoms. Regular breaks will help you to remain calm and relaxed. This will help the person with Alzheimer's to relax as well.
2. It is Important to Eat a Healthy Diet and Exercise.
This will keep your energy higher and your stress lower. You will need the energy to keep up with the ever-changing needs of Alzheimer's. With lower stress levels your body will be able to meet the demands of this job.
3. Accept That You Are Doing the Best Job You Know How to Do.
And as time goes on you will get better at the job. Go easy on yourself. Alzheimer's is a gift of patience.
4. Join a Caregiving for Alzheimer's Support Group.
There are both online and in-person groups. Check with the Alzheimer's Association to find one that works for you. These support groups will offer a wealth of information and emotional support from people who are walking in similar shoes. Though everyone's journey is different there are also a lot of similarities.
5. Educate Yourself.
There are tons of free workshops and webinars to help you learn more about this disease. You don't know everything. Tap into the people who have the knowledge to help.
6. You are not alone.
Accept that you need to reach out for help. Bring in a paid caregiver or consider a memory care home placement. A good caregiver accepts help. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to back away from the situation.
4. How can you provide the best care for someone with Alzheimer's disease?
Caregiving for Alzheimer's disease requires patience, compassion, and understanding.
Establish a routine
A routine will help both the caregiver and the one being cared for. There is a comfort in knowing what comes next.
Provide a safe environment
Make sure that your home is free of rugs and clutter that could cause a fall. And making sure to have a secure place to prevent wandering is very important also.
You may need some help learning how to do this. Take a look at videos from Teepa Snow. She offers some great insight into caregiving for Alzheimer's.
Engage in activities that the person enjoys
It doesn't have to be anything major. maybe a walk around the block. Or maybe playing with a dog or cat, cooking together or simply having an ice cream cone. Additionally, it is important to be flexible and adjust the care as the person's needs change.
Caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease can be challenging, but it is also rewarding. By understanding the disease, managing caregiver stress, and providing excellent care, the caregiver can make a positive difference in the person's life. Remember to take care of yourself, seek support when needed, and enjoy the time you have with your loved one.
In honor of our founder Pat Mack, we are carrying on the tradition of caring for our residents in "The Light Heart Way"
Light Heart Memory Care homes are specially designed for 8 residents. This gives us the ability to give personalized care to each and every resident.
Contact us to learn more about Light Heart Memory Care, or book a free consultation.
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