Caring for Someone with Alzheimer's
When it comes to caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, having the right support is the most valuable resource you can have.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are 5.8 million American’s living with this disease today and over 44 million people worldwide. An Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be a devastating diagnosis, not just for the patient but also for their family and loved ones.
Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease means that every day will bring new challenges. And just when you think you have a solid understanding and routine, the disease progresses and a new pattern emerges, leaving you feeling as lost as you were at the beginning of the diagnosis.
When you’re tasked with caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, it’s important to know that you’re not alone and that there are certain steps you can take to help cope with the common challenges that you and so many others face as they care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s Warning Signs
Care for Alzheimers
Before we get into learning how to best care for someone who’s suffering from this disease, let’s first discuss what the warning signs are so that you have a solid understanding of the disease and know what to look for.
- Memory loss: This is perhaps the most common and most well-known symptom of this disease. Someone with Alzheimer’s will begin to experience memory loss that interferes with their daily life. They may not remember recent events, names, where things go, etc.
- Trouble problem solving: They may begin to experience trouble solving problems or following directions that used to be familiar. Difficulty concentrating and overall confusion over simple tasks may set in.
- Losing track of dates and time: Those suffering from Alzheimer’s often have difficulty remembering what day, month, or even year it is.
- Difficulty judging distances: They may begin to struggle with spatial relationships, having difficulty judging distances. This can lead to trips and falls.
- Difficulty reading: Visual images and reading may begin to be a struggle.
- Misplacing items: People suffering from this disease may lose their ability to remember where they put something and the ability to critically think and retrace their steps. This can cause them to put things in unusual places or even accuse others of taking their things.
- Difficulty speaking and writing: They might start to find difficulty in saying or writing the correct words and participating in conversations. Many sufferers have trouble finding the right words or completing their sentences.
- Inability to make proper judgment decisions: They may be more susceptible to scams or pay less attention to their health, home, and personal hygiene.
How to Care for Someone with Alzheimer’s
If any of the above warning signs sound familiar, it’s important that you have your loved one evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible so that they can begin receiving the support and care that they need. Contrary to popular belief, this disease is not part of the normal aging process and should not be ignored or forgotten. When someone has Alzheimer’s, it’s important to catch the signs early because they will inevitably progress and it’s best to be prepared for that.
If your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you may be feeling sad, frustrated, and lost as to where to go from there. All these feelings and emotions are completely normal and to be expected during such a delicate time. The best defense you have is to arm yourself with all the facts and be proactive in your decision making so that you can best help manage the disease.
Support and Care
If someone you love is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, here are some ways that will help you provide the support and care that they’re going to need:
- Get educated: While Alzheimer’s may have not even been on your radar before, it’s now front and center in your life. The best first step you can take is to be prepared by getting all the facts and information you can. There are several great resources out there to choose from, we recommend starting with The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.
- Discuss care options: While you’re loved one is still able to participate in the conversation, it’s a good time to take care of financial items, legal details, and discuss what long-term care options are viable for your unique situation.
- Use cognitive stimulation: Research has shown that listening to music, working on puzzles, and participating in memory games can help nurture a positive experience for both you and your loved one.
- Find a support system: Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be a stressful and isolating experience and you shouldn’t go through it alone. There are millions of people out there who know exactly what you’re going through. Many local hospitals and doctor’s offices offer free support groups for caretakers. It’s also important to maintain your life while caring for your loved one. This means taking time to support your physical and mental health—taking time for yourself during this difficult time is in no way selfish, it’s completely necessary.
- Make professional care arrangement: You can’t take care of your loved one 24/7 on your own, your own health will begin to suffer. As you plan for long-term care for your loved one, it’s important that you recognize that you need breaks. This doesn’t mean that you need to move your loved one into a long-term facility, there are several options for finding intermittent care and support, like the Alzheimer’s professionals at Rent a Daughter. You can find qualified home care personnel who are fully training in Alzheimer’s care to come to give you a break and provide professional support for your loved one.
If you have a loved one that’s been diagnosed with this progressive disease, it’s important to know that you’re not alone and that there are resources available to help you cope with the disease while still maintaining your life.
For more information about Rent a Daughter and our professional home care services, give us a call today. You deserve a break and your loved one deserves professional, compassionate care.