Caring for Someone with Alzheimer’s Disease
- Educate yourself about the disease. Read books, attend workshops and consult with health care professionals.
- Learn caregiving techniques. Key areas are communication skills, safety concerns and managing behavioral challenges and activities of daily living.
- Understand the experience of your loved one. Adjust your expectations. Be patient and kind.
- Avoid caregiver burnout. Make time for yourself. Join caregiver support groups. Pursue interests beyond your caregiving role, such as exercise, hobbies and art.
- Maintain your own physical and mental health. Exercise, respite and other activities can reduce stress. Seek medical help if there are signs of depression.
- Discuss the situation with family and friends. Support systems are critical.
- Do cognitive stimulation activities with your loved one. Listening to music, word puzzles and memory games can easily be done at home.
- Foster communication with physicians. Be involved in your loved one’s medical care. Ask questions about the progression of the disease, express concerns and discuss treatment options.
- Take care of financials, legal and long-term care planning issues. Try to involve your loved one in decision-making, if they are still capable of providing input, and consider their wishes related to future care and end-of-life issues.
- Smile. Kindness, humor and creativity are essential parts of caregiving. Hugs, hand massage and other gentle physical contact will help your loved one feel connected and loved.
- Think positive. Focus on your loved one’s remaining strengths and enjoy your relationship while you are still able to.
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