September is World Alzheimer’s Month, a critical time for taking a look at this disease and how it affects the people who are living with it every day. Alzheimer’s is a cognitive disease with common symptoms including memory loss and personality changes.
While a person living with Alzheimer’s may have many great years, eventually they may decline to a point where care is needed. A daily routine can be very helpful for people living with the disease. As a family caregiver caring for a loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease, when you’re not struggling to figure out what you will be doing on a particular day, there will be more time for enjoying time with your loved one.
Take their personality into mind
Before their Alzheimer’s diagnosis and disease progression, your family member probably had their own way of doing things. They might have liked to read the paper in the morning, eat toast and eggs, and then go for a morning walk.
You can still incorporate some of that original routine into their new one. Even if they’re no longer able to read the paper themself, you can still read it to them as they eat their breakfast.
If certain activities don’t work anymore, it’s fine to drop them or try a new task. If they are no longer verbal, look for signs that your loved one is bored, agitated, or no longer interested in the activity you are doing. If this seems to be the case, moving on can help smooth things over.
Create a checklist
A checklist can help you keep track of a routine and keep things as similar as possible. Write out a list including meals, hygiene needs and activities. This list can help you keep to the same routine as much as possible, and also help you plan if a particular activity is no longer practical to do, or you need help for a task such as bathing.
Plan for help
It’s also important to think about your own schedule when planning the routine of a loved one. If you are a family caregiver, you also need to think about your own life and personal needs. The role of family caregiver can be a demanding one, and the needs of your family member living with Alzheimer’s can quickly consume all of your available time, or feel like it is.
It is perfectly okay to reach out for help if you need it, and to plan for this in a daily routine. If you need a break to simply be alone or get some worry-free rest, hiring additional help can put your mind at ease while you are taking that much needed break.
It’s a good idea to make this part of the daily or weekly routine, so that your family member knows to expect a different face helping them some of the time.
Alzheimer’s can be a debilitating disease, and a family member living with it will eventually need a helping hand with their daily life. A daily routine can help a great deal in smoothing things over and giving them the quality of life they need and deserve.
For more Alzheimer’s tips and information, or to find out about respite care for a family caregiver, contact Homewatch CareGivers of Woodbridge today.