Few experiences make family members feel as helpless as watching a loved one struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. Though nothing can be done to reverse the effects of the disease, you can help your loved one be more comfortable as they navigate life with Alzheimer’s. Read on to find out how.
Learn more about Alzheimer’s.
Do your best to understand what your loved one is going through by learning more about their disease and how it will progress. This knowledge will help you better address their needs and relate to them as it becomes more difficult to communicate.
Plan activities for your loved one.
Keep your loved one’s spirits high, and create new, fun experiences with them by planning activities for the two of you to enjoy together.
Help your loved one maintain independence.
Giving up independence will likely be one of the most difficult parts of your loved one’s Alzheimer’s journey – be mindful not to take it away too early. Allow them to live as independently as possible for as long as possible and help them find new ways to do things on their own as the disease progresses. The Ginny and Bob Shell Alzheimer’s Center at Parkway Village offers a wonderful option to allow your loved one to maintain their independence.
Check in frequently.
Engage in meaningful, stimulating conversation with your loved one often, and ask them how they are doing with their Alzheimer’s diagnosis to let them know they have your support, and aren’t facing this disease alone.
Be patient and kind to yourself and your loved one as you both adjust to the Alzheimer’s diagnosis and as the disease progresses. Allow yourself to laugh at the situation and be flexible when things don’t go as planned.
Take a team approach.
Team up with your loved one’s fellow family members and friends to make sure they receive the best possible care and support.
If anyone offers to help you – whether it be cleaning your house, cooking a meal or watching after your loved one – accept. You need support to get through this difficult time, and to provide your loved one the attention they need.
Take care of yourself.
You can’t take care of your loved one if you don’t take care of yourself. It may be difficult but be sure to take breaks from being a caregiver to do activities you enjoy, and do your best to maintain healthy sleep, exercise and eating habits. Take advantage of resources that help you care for yourself including respite care and support groups.
Helping someone with Alzheimer’s disease may be a long, difficult journey, but Baptist Health offers the support you need every step of the way. Learn more about Alzheimer’s and the services we provide for Alzheimer’s patients and families.