Alzheimer’s is among the most common diseases that occur among seniors. Per the Alzheimer’s Association, “An estimated 5.8 million Americans age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2020. Eighty percent are age 75 or older.” Alzheimer’s and dementia are real issues that many must deal with in some capacity, and it might require you to care for a loved one who is dealing with it. Caring for another person can be quite a challenge, particularly when they are dealing with a disease, but it is possible to provide treatment and comfort for those with Alzheimer’s. If you are someone in this situation, all you can do is be aware of the situation, prepare for what might take place with your loved one, and get the support you need. Continue reading to use some of these tips on caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
If you are caring for someone who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the first step you should take is to educate yourself on the condition. Conduct research to familiarize yourself with everything that comes with Alzheimer’s so that you can better understand what your loved one is going through and put yourself in a better position to help. A good place to start is by learning about the different stages of Alzheimer’s someone typically goes through over time as symptoms worsen.
The next tip on caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is to make sure that their living space is safe enough. Dementia makes a person more prone to injury, and there are plenty of situations in a home where this can occur. Reduce the risk of falls, prevent burns by lowering water temperatures, use locks on cabinets that have anything dangerous, and prepare for fires—these are all expedient actions to take for your loved one’s safety.
Alzheimer’s can be tough on a person’s self-esteem since the condition can be a difficult one to live with. Therefore, another important thing to strive for when caring for someone who is dealing with cognitive decline is to reduce anxiety and helping them to maintain their appearance. You can do this by keeping up with hygiene, grooming, and picking out their outfits.
Communication is key in any friendship, but when someone has Alzheimer’s, being on the same page can become increasingly difficult. To best prepare for changes in communication that might take place with your loved one, try some of these simple techniques:
Figuring out the best way to communicate with your loved one will take some getting used to. Learning how to communicate with someone who is dealing with dementia can help you to provide a more comfortable environment for them.
Repetitiveness is also a major part of Alzheimer’s care. You can implement this technique by creating a daily routine. Because this daily routine will include the same steps at the same time of day, over time, it can help your loved one feel more comfortable with whoever is caring for them.
A daily routine for your loved one should also be full of different activities throughout the day. The activities you plan can vary and help with their memory and other aspects of their health. For instance, you can spend some time outside, get them involved in group activities, play board games, exercise, and more.
Planning activities and creating a daily routine is important, but you also need to be flexible when it comes to caring for someone who has Alzheimer’s. Your loved one who has dementia may start to get defensive, and they may meet certain routines with some force. To ensure that there’s isn’t any problems, try to be as flexible as possible, and work with them to the best of your ability. For example, your loved one might want to wear a different set of clothes or have a different meal than you’d planned. Try to come to a mutual understanding. Do your best to diffuse the situation by listening to their wishes and reaching a compromise.
Caring for someone who has dementia can come with some frustrations, as we mentioned in the previous section. Caring for your loved one with Alzheimer’s is usually not an easy task, and it can cause situations to escalate. Do your best to keep any frustrations you have in check—or, at the very least, try not to take them out on your loved one. The less you show your frustrations, the more trust there will be between you, which will allow you to provide better care.
When you are caring for someone with dementia, it’s also crucial that you come to terms with the reality of the situation. Your loved one’s memory will likely fade away as time moves forward, and you need to be ready for that potential future. While your loved one might forget who they are, it’s important that you remember them as they were and continue to provide compassion because they will need it.
Your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease may also need some support when you are unable to provide it for them. Symptoms may also start to worsen, and professional care might ultimately be necessary. Caring for your loved one also means weighing your options in terms of support, and one of the best options available is home care. Some of the best respite care in Seattle, Washington, comes from Fedelta Home Care. It’s an option worth considering if caring for your loved one on your own starts to become overwhelming.