Taking care of a family member who has Alzheimer’s disease can be both a rewarding experience, and a sacrifice at the same time. It can often mean juggling a career, family, and personal life all while handling a loved one’s life as well.
It may mean missing out on work opportunities, giving up hobbies, and spending huge amounts of time and sometimes money in order to make things work.
According to research, Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease with several different stages. In the pre-dementia stage a loved one often may not even be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s yet. Signs can include the inability to learn new information, and short-term memory loss.
Advanced disease however, often requires someone to step in if the person wishes to stay in their own home. A loved one living with Alzheimer’s may lose the ability to communicate, and as the disease progresses may not be able to perform even the most basic tasks.
If you are a family caregiver with a loved one who needs your help due to Alzheimer’s disease, here are some tips to help you cope.
- Find an online support group
Online support groups are wonderful because not only will you have the advice of other people who share the same situation, but you also don’t have to go anywhere in order to receive that help. Online support groups may be able to offer solutions to specific problems you are having, as well as being easily accessible.
- Check your routine
It’s worth writing out a daily schedule, and looking it over to see if there are ways you could make it go more smoothly. If you can address any hang ups, your day will be a little less stressful.
- Ask for help if needed
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, it can get that much harder to do even ordinary tasks. If you found coping with mild Alzheimer’s easy, but are now struggling due to moderate or advanced Alzheimer’s, it may be wise to look for an additional pair of hands to help you.
An experienced caregiver can help by taking the weight off your shoulders, help get meals prepped, hygiene complete, and even errands run so you don’t feel like everything rides on your shoulders. If there are situations you don’t know if you can help with, such as lifting your fallen loved one from the floor, a caregiver can be a great solution.
- Plan for the future
It’s a good idea to think about the long-term as well as short-term solutions. Write out a plan for when you think you may need additional care, and keep necessary documents organized so when you need them they are ready. If your loved one has Medicaid or other insurance, taking the time to research what options they may cover for your family member can also come in handy.
We recognize the extraordinary care that family caregivers provide every day. It’s an incredible gift to give a family member your loving care when they are no longer able to take care of themselves. We want you to know that we are here for you should you need a helping hand.
For more Alzheimer’s tips and information, or to find out about respite care for a family caregiver, contact Homewatch CareGivers of Overland Park today.