Caring for Someone with Alzheimer's
Caring for a loved one with a progressive neurodegenerative condition such as Alzheimer's Disease can take its toll emotionally, physically, and spiritually. As the world slowly becomes smaller for the person with Alzhemier's, so does the world of that person's caregiver.
The most important thing for caregivers is to remember to take care of themselves, yet many people find this the most difficult part of caregiving. Just as maintaining a sense of emotional balance is of immense value to the person with Alzheimer's, staying grounded psychologically is essential for the caregiver. Developing the skills needed to take care of a loved one and yourself takes time, but it is essential for the caregiver to remain whole during the caregiving journey.
Whether the person with Alzheimer's lives with you or in an assisted living community, these tips can help with your day-to-day interactions.
Tips for Managing the Day
One of the most important, yet most challenging, elements of caring for an Alzheimer's patient is maintaining a consistent daily routine. While this is often tedious for the caregiver, it provides the patient with a sense of security and predictability when their internal life might seem to be in chaos. The caregiver also needs to keep in mind that as the disease progresses, changes in the daily routine may become necessary.
Daily activities need to center around the interests of the person with Alzheimer's because keeping the person occupied can decrease the likelihood he or she will become agitated. When planning activities and tasks for the day, try to keep them simple and break them down into steps the patient can easily achieve. When the person completes a step, offer him or her an ample amount of praise. This will decrease the frequency of angry outbursts due to frustration.
Communicating with an Alzheimer's patient is often a challenge. When talking to the patient, using a soft, calm voice tone can help keep the person from becoming agitated. Using simple words and short phrases helps the person to track the conversation. Additionally, call the person by name and make sure you have his or her attention before you start speaking.
Make Time for You
Make time for yourself during the day by recruiting a neighbor or friend to supply some respite. This will keep the caregiver from feeling as if their world is getting smaller. Additionally, it will help the person stay grounded. Contact local senior living facilities for more tips on caring for someone with Alzheimer's
- Provide your loved one with consistent, daily activities to stay occupied.
- Communicate calmly and with patience.
- Take time for yourself once in a while.
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