Navigating the Journey: Essential Tips for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

Navigating the Journey: Essential Tips for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

Maybe your family is reeling from a diagnosis of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other cognition-affection disorders. Perhaps you were expecting this or have been diagnosed for some time already. No matter what stage you’re at in your journey through Alzheimer’s, you’re undoubtedly feeling the stress of the responsibility you’ve taken on. 

If you’re looking for Alzheimer’s caregiving tips and coping strategies for Alzheimer’s caregivers, read on.

Alzheimer’s Caregiver Tips 

Seek Out Alzheimer’s Caregiver Education 

Community and senior centers, as well as memory care facilities, often offer classes to teach you about: 

  • Managing Alzheimer’s behaviors 
  • Alzheimer’s caregiving strategies 
  • Self-care for Alzheimer’s caregivers 
  • Understanding Alzheimer’s progression 
  • Communication techniques for Alzheimer’s caregivers 
  • Legal and financial planning for caregivers 

Read up on the Aspects of Alzheimer’s That Are Most Troublesome in Your Situation 

Confusing symptoms can arise with Alzheimer’s that pose a higher threat than others and are particularly difficult for caregivers to manage. Don’t wait for the next doctor’s appointment if your loved one is facing difficult behaviors because of Alzheimer’s, such as wandering, difficulty swallowing, or aggression. Look to the internet for assistance. Resources such as the Alzheimer’s Association provide education for Alzheimer’s caregivers and connect you to Alzheimer’s caregiving support groups. 

Adopt an Attitude of Patience and Try To Give Yourself Grace 

Managing Alzheimer’s behaviors can be extremely challenging, and Alzheimer’s caregiver wellness can be affected by the sudden changes and expectations. Remember that your loved one is going through cognitive disturbances and will need more time to process everything. Meal times will take longer, and so will most, if not all, tasks. 

Make sure to allow your loved one more time, and don’t try to take over their daily tasks to quicken the process. Grant yourself the serenity to accept that mornings will be slower, and you’ll need to adjust your expectations accordingly to save yourself from high blood pressure. Give yourself more time to prepare for appointments, shopping, and any other excursion, and try to be patient. 

Create Emergency Plans for Any Situation That Could Arise 

If you’re a worrier like me, being prepared can give you the best advantage in any situation. You can develop a strategy for what to do if your loved one wanders off at night or has an accident that requires a trip to the hospital. Do you think you’ll need to bring anything? Call anyone? Will you have any other responsibilities, such as managing children, during this time, and who else do you have to help with that? See what other situations you can think of and write down your plans if they arise; your future self will thank you. 

Create a Go-to Binder for All Your Alzheimer’s Caregiver Resources 

Keep sections for medical records and other paperwork, helpful articles you’ve printed, and a contact list and emergency procedures. Also, maintain a list of symptoms your loved one faces, especially as new ones arise. This can be helpful because appointments with your medical team can be hectic, and you’ll want to be organized and have your concerns ready to take care of. 

Access Your Network To Get Time Away From Your Responsibilities 

Alzheimer’s caregiver stress management best practices dictate that you need time for yourself, and often. If you’re a parent, you already know how hard it is to manage someone else’s life and your own. 

Becoming a caregiver to an adult with Alzheimer’s disease is no easy task. The daily chores of the job alone can be isolating, as Alzheimer’s patients often need a lot of care. Couple this with the stress of having your loved one go through the disease and show symptoms such as aggression towards you, and it can be traumatizing. 

Reach out to your village and ask for a day off whenever possible. You can see if the local senior center has any respite programs and contact your healthcare provider to find respite. It can also be as simple as having another family member step in for a few hours so you can go out and do something just for you. 

Engage Your Loved One in Activities You’ve Both Enjoyed 

While Alzheimer’s disease is a tragic affliction, you can try to find a silver lining – now you can focus on recreation! Did you and your loved one with Alzheimer’s spend time together before the diagnosis, and if so, what did you do? 

If you’ve spent time baking, get back into the kitchen and have some fun! If fishing was a hobby before, why not head to the bank and throw some lines for an afternoon? Depending on your loved ones’ ability, they could still catch a fish or enjoy some time with their toes in the sand. And you’ll both enjoy the bonding and relaxation of a careless afternoon spent remembering the good old days. 

Come Up With a Battle Plan 

You can set yourself up for success by crafting a plan for your days. Creating a system that allows your loved one with dementia to maintain their autonomy is critical to maintaining their quality of life, so set them up with an organizational system suited to their needs. Make their tasks reasonable and based on their ability level, but involve them in as many daily activities as possible. 

Keep a Routine 

It might be helpful to write your routine down in big, bright letters and post it on the wall in your loved ones’ room so they have a guide to help avoid some confusion. Depending on their personality, you might make an afternoon of creating a routine list and decorating it together. 

Take Notes 

You can keep a dry-erase board on your fridge with a spot for every day of the week, a calendar, and a menu planner. Organization is vital, and having visible reminders is a great strategy. Your loved one with Alzheimer’s might also appreciate small reminders. If you don’t write it down, it might not happen, so save yourself some headaches and keep track with pen and paper. 

Set Alarms for Appointments and Daily Tasks 

Caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease tend to have a full plate, and no one can blame you if you forget an odd appointment or task. One way to keep yourself on track (and on time) is by creating alarms on your cell phone. You can have an alarm for when it’s time to start dinner, as you may be too busy and need to remember. Also, have an alarm for medications, baths, shopping trips, bills to pay, and doctor appointments. 

Find Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support 

Asking for help is not a weakness; it’s a sign of strength and will make all the difference in the world. Whether you already have a community or are trying to find one, reach out for help! 

Reach Out to Your Tribe 

Alzheimer’s caregiver burnout prevention relies on assistance from your closest friends, family, and your Alzheimer’s caregiver community. Whether you need to phone a friend, post a cry for help on social media, or shout it from the rooftops, get in touch with your village for help making it through caregiving with your sanity intact. 

Seek Professional Alzheimer’s Caregiver Guidance 

Whether you need in-home support or are considering memory care options for Alzheimer’s patients, reach out to a trusted team of people well-versed in Alzheimer’s care techniques. You can find Alzheimer’s caregiver support in your community through your city or county social services, your loved ones’ medical team, or a memory care center near you. 

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