At times, the greatest lessons in life arise through experiencing them firsthand; yet the knowledge we can glean from those who have traveled the same road before us is priceless. If you’re providing Alzheimer’s care for a loved one and beginning to feel a bit stressed in this uncharted territory, the recommendations below might help:
- A short break may make a significant difference. Whenever your senior loved one is struggling with complicated feelings, such as fear or anger, it’s a good idea to temporarily stop whatever activity or task she is involved with, and allow the chance for a breather. Modify the surroundings by moving into a different room or outside the house if the weather allows, play some favorite music, browse a scrapbook, or point out different birds and flowers. When peace is restored, you can try the task once again, often with significantly better outcomes.
- Stop rationalizing. Attempting to prove a point or win a disagreement is not usually useful when communicating with someone with Alzheimer’s. Remind yourself that the individual’s brain functioning is changed, and as long as no harm is going to be done, permit the senior loved one to maintain her own personal reality.
- Tackle denial. Although it may be human nature to want to deny that there is a problem, recognizing signs and symptoms of dementia and pursuing medical attention as quickly as possible is essential to obtain the medical care and treatment necessary.
- Check medications. The side effects of various medicines can actually cause greater confusion and cognitive difficulties than the disease itself. Come up with an extensive list of all medications (including over-the-counter ones) and review with the senior’s health care provider to ensure that the advantages surpass any negative effects.
- Take care of YOU, too. Caregiver burnout and depression are serious risks for family members caring for a senior with dementia. Be sure you’re carving out the required time for self-care, socializing, and activities that you enjoy. Keep in mind that your family member will benefit from having a caregiver who is in good health and recharged.
- Realize that life can be fulfilling with dementia. While the person you love is going through some difficult changes, it is beneficial to know that life, while different, can certainly still be meaningful and bring joy in spite of the disease. Investigate different kinds of fun-filled activities for the senior to boost socialization, boost memory and cognitive functioning, and stay physically active.
The St. Joseph home care team at Home Sweet Home In-Home Care is always here to supply the encouragement you need to make sure your family member with dementia will be able to live life to the fullest. Contact us online or give us a call at (269) 849-9252 in St. Joseph, 269-763-5350 in Paw Paw, 269-963-9888 in Battle Creek or 269-373-5444 in Kalamazoo for more information on our highly specialized in-home Alzheimer’s care for seniors. Visit our Service Area page to see if our services are available in your area.