In many families, one member is often the primary Alzheimer’s caregiver, but what happens if that family member is unprepared? If you are that person, then the best thing you can do is to arm yourself with information about Alzheimer’s disease. Here are some helpful tips you can use to become an effective Alzheimer’s caregiver.
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Research, Research, Research!
Talk to the patient’s physician and ask all the questions you have about the symptoms, possible medical treatments, and other alternatives. Request the doctor to provide you a list of related literature and other informational materials on Alzheimer’s disease.
Conduct in-depth research into your community’s medical facilities, from the expertise of the physicians to the medical equipment used. Keep this information, addresses, and telephone numbers within reach at all times.
Get in touch with the following organizations: the Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center (ADEAR) and Alzheimer’s Association for starters. Ask them if they provide training on care giving and other management skills to help you to become an effective Alzheimer’s caregiver.
Join a support group. You will find the addresses and contact details of these support groups at churches, synagogues, seniors’ centers, and assisted living facilities. They will help provide the emotional support you need, as well as concrete ideas on how to be a better Alzheimer’s caregiver.
Schedule is the Key
Create a flexible routine for you and your patient, and you can maximize the times that are best for the person with Alzheimer’s disease. Be kind to yourself, and remember that no matter how hard you try as an Alzheimer’s caregiver, there will be days when nothing goes right for the patient.
Add variety to your patient’s schedules by creating a mix of activities. Perhaps you can use the services of an adult day-care center once a week. This will provide the patient opportunities to socialize and allow you to be a better Alzheimer’s caregiver by providing the breathing space you need. Also, plan your doctors’ visit when it is least crowded and the patient is receptive.
Inspect the house and make it accident proof. You can install locks so that the person with Alzheimer’s disease will not wander out, and be sure to hide any sharp objects that could hurt the patient. Remember to label all the medicines, and keep them locked away.
Being an Alzheimer’s caregiver is never going to be easy. The person you are caring for is suffering from an irreversible brain disorder; however, some of the basics outlined here can help you as you maintain a quality of life for the person with Alzheimer’s.