According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a neurological degenerative disorder of the brain. It starts out mild and progressively gets worse. It is the most common form of dementia among older people, affecting almost 70% of all people diagnosed with the dementia. The disease affects the part of the brain that controls memory, thoughts and language. It starts out mild and progressively gets worse with time.
Caring for someone who has Alzheimer’s can be challenging, but here are some useful tips.
Educate yourself about the disease through the Alzheimer’s Association, support groups, community resources, caregiver associations, or educational seminars and workshops. Increasing your knowledge of the disease will allow you to know what to expect as the disease progresses and be better equipped to handle the challenges associated with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Planning for the future is important to ensure that your loved one can still take part in the decision making of their care options and financial future. Stay involved in their medical care and treatment options. Discuss your loved ones wishes and decisions for future care such as, how they’d like to be cared for and where they’d like to live.
Also discuss how you can best monitor and/or assist in their financial management needs before a crisis occurs. Discussing issues such as Power of Attorney, online bill payment and online banking can make it easier for you wherever you may live.
DEVLOP A ROUTINE
Daily structure is very important in caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. A consistent timeline for daily activities such as waking up, bathing, dressing, meal times, and
bedtime, will make your loved one feel more secure, comfortable and less agitated.
ALLOW FOR UNUSUAL BEHAVIOR
A person with Alzheimer’s can easily become irritable, angry and aggressive. Knowing in advance what to expect and how to deal with those behaviors will calm your anxiety and the anxiety that the person with Alzheimer’s is experiencing. Remember that these behaviors are not your loved one, but symptoms of the disease.
It may be tempting to do routine things for the person with dementia, but allowing loved ones to do things on their own, increases their self esteem and confidence. It also allows them to be in control of their lives and independent for as long as possible.
Finding support is crucial. Taking care of yourself and getting support is not only essential for your well being, but also for that of your loved one. Be willing to ask for help from other family members or consider Adult Day Care Programs, Home Care, or Respite Care.