Five Helpful Tips for Alzheimer’s Caregivers
Caring for an Alzheimer’s patient is no walk in the park. The condition itself brings forth a triad of problems such as cognitive decline, memory loss, and even incontinence. Add in the occasional ungrateful or even aggressive behavior of a diagnosed loved one, and taking care of them becomes a constant struggle. We explore some tips on how to cope with the unique challenges that come with being an Alzheimer’s patient primary caregiver.
Five Ways to cope with the Challenges of Being an Alzheimer’s Caregiver
Taking care of a recently diagnosed Alzheimer’s loved one is a mean but achievable feat. Here are some ways you can cope with the unique challenges the condition brings:
1. Educate Yourself about the Condition
Offering care and support to a recently diagnosed Alzheimer’s loved one is hard, but doing the same when you know nothing about the condition is harder. This is essentially because you have no idea what to do, and what to avoid.
You don’t know how the condition affects them, and as such, you may end up taking some of their behaviors such as aggression personally.
One way to cope with the challenges of being an Alzheimer’s caregiver is educating yourself about the condition. Learn what Alzheimer’s is, the challenges to expect, and how to deal with them, so that when they finally manifest in your loved one, you’ll already know how to handle them.
2. Explore Treatment Options
Although Alzheimer’s has no cure, there are various medications and treatment options that can help with the symptoms. Discuss your options with a doctor from a reputable facility so you can know which treatment plan best suits your loved one.
3. Prioritize Self-care
Alzheimer’s takes its toll on not only the diagnosed patient, but on the caregiver as well. And it does so both emotionally, and physically. In light of that, it’s important your prioritize self-care.
Eat nutritiously, workout regularly and get enough sleep every night. While at it, recognize that you are only human, and ask for help from friends and family.
Set aside at least one or two days a week where a close friend or family member takes over the care of your Alzheimer’s loved one so you can have some me-time.
4. Join Support Groups
There are over 16 million Alzheimer’s caregivers in the U.S. alone. That means there are plenty of support groups that you can join for help.
Here you can learn important tips from the experience of other caregivers, ask for help when you are stuck, and even get physical and emotional support from people who understand first-hand what it is like to care for an Alzheimer’s patient.
5. Recognize Your Help Might Not Always Be Appreciated
One of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s is memory loss. That means despite your help and support or how close you were, an Alzheimer’s patient may forget you. Other times they may even become aggressive if you try to help them. Never lose sight of who they are, and avoid taking it personally if your help isn’t appreciated.
Caring for an Alzheimer’s patient is no easy task. But you can make it easier by using the tips highlighted above. Need more information about Alzheimer’s and the treatment options available? Get in touch with one of our professionals today.