If someone you love is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, you know that being a caregiver may be the toughest job you’ve ever had. There is constant work to take care of the patient physically, and the sight of him or her slowly slipping away is very difficult on you emotionally. Which is why it’s important to understand that Alzheimer’s care involves more than just the patient himself or herself! It is very easy for any Alzheimer’s caregiver to become mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted when trying to handle this burden alone.
The Physical Toll of Alzheimer’s Care
Especially in the later stages of the disease will Alzheimer’s patients need more and more care with their physical needs. They often have difficulty swallowing and with reflexes. They may need assistance even with basic hygiene, including using the restroom. All of this can take quite a physical toll on those giving the Alzheimer’s care. It’s difficult enough to care for the many physical needs of babies that can be carried and bathed, but Alzheimer’s patients are adults! Trying to get them in and out of a tub or even out of a chair can be very difficult.
Alzheimer’s patients also need constant oversight, as they may have a tendency to wander away or leave the home at inappropriate times. When giving Alzheimer’s care, this is a twenty-four hour job, and many caregivers can go days and days without adequate sleep.
The Emotional Toll of Alzheimer’s Care
Seeing a beloved parent or spouse regress into someone that doesn’t even know your name or worse, fears that you’re a stranger and gets angry at you constantly can be devastating for those giving Alzheimer’s care. This type of circumstance can also subconsciously remind them of what they have to look forward to in their own coming years, making them keenly aware of their own mortality.
Enlisting Help for Alzheimer’s Care
There are probably other people that can assist you in giving Alzheimer’s care if you simply ask them, and let them know directly what you need. Brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, and any other relatives that live near by should be doing all they can to help even if the patient lives with you. They may also be willing to share the cost of professional visiting nurses and medics to assist in the patient’s Alzheimer’s care; ask your doctor for such referrals if necessary.