Caregiving & Alzheimer’s: What You Need to Know
When your parent, spouse, sibling, or other loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, it’s incredibly difficult for everyone involved to cope with. As you make peace with the diagnosis, you must also consider their care. The CDC says 80% of Alzheimer’s patients are cared for at home, so providing safe and comfortable care for your loved one with Alzheimer’s in their home is possible. Whether you are the full-time caregiver or share duties with other family members, these Alzheimer’s caregiver tips will help you along your journey.
Gather Your Support Team
Undoubtedly, you and your family will bring on the best team of doctors, medical professionals, and therapists to manage the treatment and progression of your loved one’s Alzheimer’s disease. All of that is essential, but you should also gather a support team around you as the caregiver. This might look like attending a caregiver support group, having a close circle of friends to support you emotionally, relying on other family members to help, or giving yourself scheduled breaks. Caregivers can’t do this alone, so gather your trusted people around to help with the intense mental, emotional, and physical load.
Educate Yourself on What to Expect
If you do research, you’ll find three stages of Alzheimer’s. This includes the early stages, middle stages, and late stages. Therefore, it’s important to seek reliable resources and trusted medical professionals about what to expect in each stage, where your loved one is, and how quickly it may progress. Specifically, you want to understand the behaviors you may encounter through each stage so you can prepare. This helps you make a more informed plan for their daily care, which will also help your loved one feel more secure.
Establish a Daily Routine
Everyone finds comfort in a daily routine, and for Alzheimer’s patients, it’s essential for a more peaceful day. Consider daily activities to stimulate their mind and provide purpose to their schedule. A daily routine is critical no matter what stage of Alzheimer’s your loved one is in.
You’ll want to encourage independence whenever it’s safely possible, but you will need to adapt the daily routine as you see changes in your family member. You can include many simple tasks in your daily routine that will provide comfort and security to your loved one with Alzheimer’s. For example, establish a wake-up routine where your loved one wakes up, uses the bathroom, brushes their teeth, and changes clothes each day. You may even be able to add tasks like watering the plants every morning after breakfast or afternoon walks after lunch.
Diet & Exercise are Essential
For Alzheimer’s patients, a healthy diet and exercise are crucial parts of their care. You’ll want to ensure your loved one gets a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and protein. It’s best to avoid saturated fats and excess sugar as well. Make a meal plan at the beginning of each week to take the pressure off deciding each day’s meals.
Exercise can look many different ways for your loved one with Alzheimer’s, depending on their physical ability and stage of the disease. A daily walk around the block, swimming, or gardening are all great ways to get their blood flowing to help improve brain function. Seated exercises and stretches are also great options if it’s difficult for your senior to stand and walk.
Encourage Social Interactions
Interacting with family members and friends is important to your loved one’s care. Social interactions positively impact your senior’s mental and emotional health, which is much needed throughout the progression of Alzheimer’s. So, encourage and plan social interactions whenever possible. Try to include fun games too that stimulate their memory and cognitive health. Research also shows that music has a lot of benefits for Alzheimer’s patients, so add in their favorite songs too!
Don’t Delay In-Home Caregivers
Alzheimer’s disease is a tough progression for the patient and family members. It’s also taxing on the primary caregiver’s physical, mental, and emotional health, even with a great support team around them. Therefore, don’t delay bringing in professional in-home caregiving services. In-home caregivers specializing in Alzheimer’s care can provide exceptional care uniquely tailored to your loved one. When you bring in trusted care, it will bring you peace because you know your family member with Alzheimer’s is getting the proper care at home, and you have extra help.
Caregivers United specializes in Alzheimer’s and dementia care, and our team of caregivers has the training, patience, and expertise to help care for your family member with Alzheimer’s. We pride ourselves on being the top in-home caregivers in Sarasota. If you’re considering in-home caregiving for your senior loved one, contact us today for a free courtesy visit where we can assess your needs and discuss our services. Caregivers United is here to walk with your senior and your family every step of the way.