Caring For Your Loved One With Alzheimers


In the United States alone, there are more than 16 million people facing the daunting task of caring for someone with dementia, and 32% of those caregivers will provide care for five or more years.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that destroys brain cells and affects a person’s memory, thoughts, and behaviors. There are no available treatments for the illness which means that your care is what contributes the most to the quality of life your loved one experiences.

Educate Yourself

There are three main stages of Alzheimer’s: mild, moderate and severe. Knowing how the disease progresses will help you get ready for what lies ahead. The sooner you plan and prepare for the challenges you will face the more your loved one can be involved in the decision-making process. Legal and financial arrangements will need to be made and power of attorney established while your loved one is still lucid. 

Create a Routine

A constant daily routine helps both you and your loved one feel more comfortable and in control. Of course, changes will be required as the illness progresses, but these should be implemented gradually in order to give your loved one time to adjust.

Plan Activities

Activities can help reduce agitation and repetitive behavior in patients with Alzheimer’s.  Such activities can include simple household chores, playing a board game or visiting relatives. Bear in mind that visits with nothing to do can be tedious and repetitive so you may want to consider having an engaging activity to do together. Consider Alzheimer’s gifts which incorporate these kinds of activities to make visits with relatives old and young more appealing and fun for everyone involved.

Look After Their Nutrition Intake

Left unsupervised, Alzheimer’s patients can often forget to eat or eat the same meal every day. Of course, nutrition is of vital importance for brain health, so it is essential that caregivers take time to ensure that a varied and regular diet is being adhered to. You may want to consider encouraging your loved one to take a multivitamin daily, although this will have to be supervised as an Alzheimer’s patient will forget to take pills when left to their own devices.

Self-Care

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is a major commitment, and nearly all caregivers will at some stage, suffer from sadness, anxiety, loneliness, exhaustion and depression. A high proportion of these caregivers will also experience burn out at some point. While most caregivers will experience challenges managing their time, looking after yourself is essential in order to avoid caregivers’ fatigue which can result in a poor quality of care. Talking to others who are in a similar situation can help with feelings of loneliness and is useful for gaining knowledge and tips. Joining a support group for caregivers not only fills this gap but will also give you the opportunity to meet others and form new supportive friendships.

Know When to Get Professional Help

There will come a time in most caregiving scenarios where professional help is required.  Ultimately this is up to you; however, you should dispel any feelings of guilt when considering assistance and remember that your own health and wellbeing is of vital importance. Caregiving is a demanding task that can often seem thankless as the illness progresses.


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