Tuesday, April 9, 2024
HomeFactsHow To Help Alzheimer's Caregivers

How To Help Alzheimer’s Caregivers

Create A Safe Living Space

Help for Alzheimer’s caregivers

Having Alzheimer’s raises the chance of injury. Take a close look at your living space, especially areas with dangerous items. To stay safe:;

  • Avoid falls. Pick up clutter. Install handrails or grab bars in areas where your loved one might fall.
  • Lock up. Use locks on cabinets with medicine, alcohol, guns, cleaning products, tools, or sharp things.
  • Ensure fire safety. Put matches and lighters away, and keep a fire extinguisher handy.

Plan For Doctor Visits

As a caregiver, you’ll play a critical role in doctor appointments. Plan ahead to make the most of your time:

  • Organize paperwork. Give staff copies of documents that allow you to make medical decisions.
  • Avoid stress. Visit when the person is alert. Bring an activity for the waiting room.
  • Be ready to ask and answer questions. Write down questions, symptoms, and notes on behaviors ahead of time. Take notes and talk about future care.

Take Care Of Yourself

Family members who care for people with dementia have more anxiety and depression than other caregivers. Here are a few self-care tips:

  • Ask for help. Reach out to family, friends, or an adult day-care. Even a few hours of help a week can lower your stress.
  • Join a support group. Whether online or in person, you can share your experience and find resources.
  • Talk to a counselor. They can help you understand your feelings and manage stress.

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Getting Help With Alzheimer’s Caregiving

Some caregivers need help when the person is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Other caregivers look for help when the person is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s. It’s okay to seek help whenever you need it.

As the person moves through the stages of Alzheimer’s, he or she will need more care. One reason is that medicines used to treat Alzheimer’s disease can only control symptoms; they cannot cure the disease. Symptoms, such as memory loss and confusion, will get worse over time.

Because of this, you will need more help. You may feel that asking for help shows weakness or a lack of caring, but the opposite is true. Asking for help shows your strength. It means you know your limits and when to seek support.

What Is Alzheimers Disease

10 Tips for Family Caregivers

Alzheimers disease is the most common form of a group of brain diseases called dementias. Alzheimers disease accounts for 60% to 80% of dementia cases. Other forms of dementia include vascular dementia, mixed dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, and frontotemporal dementia.

Alzheimers disease, like all dementias, gets worse over time and there is no known cure. Nearly 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimers disease. Alzheimers disease destroys brain cells causing problems with memory, thinking, and behavior that can be severe enough to affect work, lifelong hobbies, and social life. Eventually, it can affect ones ability to carry out routine daily activities. Today, it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. It is the fifth leading cause of death for those aged 65 years and older.

For more information, see www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/facts-figuresexternal icon.

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Resources And Support Groups For Alzheimers Caregivers

Regardless of where you are in your journey as a caregiver for someone with Alzheimers, theres a wealth of resources that provide information, emotional support, and advice to help you along the way. Weve created this list of online resources and support groups to help you navigate the challenges and victories of caring for a loved one with dementia.;;


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Tips For A Healthy And Active Lifestyle For People With Dementia

Eating healthy and staying active is good for everyone and is especially important for people with Alzheimers and related dementias. As the disease progresses, finding ways for the person to eat healthy foods and stay active may be increasingly challenging. Here are some tips that may help:

  • Consider different activities the person can do to stay active, such as household chores, cooking and baking, exercise, and gardening. Match the activity to what the person can do.
  • Help get an activity started or join in to make the activity more fun. People with dementia may lack interest or initiative and can have trouble starting activities. But, if others do the planning, they may join in.
  • Add music to exercises or activities if it helps motivate the person. Dance to the music if possible.
  • Be realistic about how much activity can be done at one time. Several short mini-workouts may be best.
  • Take a walk together each day. Exercise is good for caregivers, too!
  • Buy a variety of healthy foods, but consider food that is easy to prepare, such as premade salads and single portions.
  • Give the person choices about what to eat, for example, Would you like yogurt or cottage cheese?

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Ten Tips For Communicating With A Person With Dementia

We arenât born knowing how to communicate with a person with dementiaâbut we can learn. Improving your communication skills will help make caregiving less stressful and will likely improve the quality of your relationship with your loved one. Good communication skills will also enhance your ability to handle the difficult behavior you may encounter as you care for a person with a dementing illness.

  • Set a positive mood for interaction. Your attitude and body language communicate your feelings and thoughts more strongly;than your words do. Set a positive mood by speaking to your loved one in a pleasant and respectful manner. Use facial expressions, tone of voice, and physical touch to help convey your message and show your feelings of affection.
  • Get the personâs attention. Limit distractions and noiseâturn off the radio or TV, close the curtains or shut the door, or move to quieter surroundings. Before speaking, make sure you have her attention; address her by name, identify yourself by name and relation, and use nonverbal cues and touch to help keep her focused. If she is seated, get down to her level and maintain eye contact.
  • Listen with your ears, eyes, and heart. Be patient in waiting for your loved oneâs reply. If she is struggling for an answer, itâs okay to suggest words. Watch for nonverbal cues and body language, and respond appropriately. Always strive to listen for the meaning and feelings that underlie the words.
  • What Does This Mean For Me

    How to Ask for Help! Dementia Caregivers need these 3 As
    • As a Caregiver, you can have a positive impact on how the Veteran you care for deals with this condition. You can be encouraging and supportive as he or she faces the struggles, frustrations and changes associated with conditions like Alzheimers and dementia.
    • The life of the Veteran you care for can change depending on the types and severity of symptoms he or she is experiencing. Your life may change dramatically as you adjust your already busy schedule to include increasing care needs for the Veteran you care for. In addition, the amount of information youll need to make good caregiving decisions may feel overwhelming this is a normal reaction.
    • Remember that you are not alone and that its okay to ask for help. Caregiving is very demanding, so dont feel guilty or as though you have failed if you need help. Support is available, and you should feel comfortable seeking it out. If you dont know who to turn to, a good first step is to call VAs Caregiver Support Line at 1-855-260-3274

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    Dealing With Alzheimers And The Other Dementias

    Dealing with Alzheimerâs Disease is an emotionally taxing, complicated, and unstable journey. Everyone caring for a physically frail and memory-impaired aging loved one eventually needs assistance. From my vantage point at the helm of a home care agency with dozens of client families impacted by dementia, and as the son of a mother diagnosed with Alzheimerâs disease, I still find myself floundering when I donât have the answer to a âmomâ issue. And while experience may teach you how to mitigate the worst signs and symptoms of the disease, no amount of experience can make someone wear another caregiverâs shoes. In that sense, caring for a person with Alzheimerâs is not only tough, but also a lonely task in which it is so easy to sink and get lost.

    What can make Alzheimerâs caregiving especially challenging is the feeling of an unreciprocated flow of love. If people impacted by this disease could speak to us and make us understand, we would not have to read the tea leaves when we try to decipher their wishes, anger, bursts of agitation, combativeness, and the occasional smiles and signs of a little recognition. Oh, how we jump with joy when Mom seems to recognize us, when she bestows that lovely smile upon seeing us. Those little moments are priceless in the daily ordeal of living with and looking after a loved one with Alzheimerâs disease.

    Coping With Emotions And Stress

    Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s takes a lot of time and effort. Your job can become even harder when the person gets angry with you, hurts your feelings, or forgets who you are. Sometimes, you may feel discouraged, sad, lonely, frustrated, confused, or angry. These feelings are normal.

    Here are some things you can say to yourself that might help you feel better:

    • I’m doing the best I can.
    • What I’m doing would be hard for anyone.
    • I’m not perfect, and that’s okay.
    • I can’t control some things that happen.
    • Sometimes, I just need to do what works for right now.
    • I will enjoy the moments when we can be together in peace.
    • Even when I do everything I can think of, the person with Alzheimer’s disease will still have problem behaviors because of the illness, not because of what I do.
    • I will try to get help from a counselor if caregiving becomes too much for me.

    Some caregivers find that going to a church, temple, or mosque helps them cope with the daily demands placed on them. For others, simply having a sense that larger forces are at work in the world helps them find a sense of balance and peace.

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    The Ability To Ask For Help

    Asking for help isnt always easy, but the truth is, most people would be happy to share the load. Have a running list of every person whos reached out, and jot down a few ways that they may be able to help. For example, a neighbor may be happy to drop in for 30 minutes once or twice per week to give you an opportunity to go for a walk. A friend may be willing to pick up groceries while theyre doing their own weekly shopping or provide transportation to a medical appointment.;;;

    If someone cant help you, theyll let you know, but unless you ask, you wont know what others can do to provide you some relief.;;

    Make The Environment Safer

    Here are ten communications tips that can help Alzheimer

    As memory loss progresses, it affects the persons judgment and problem-solving skills. These tips for Alzheimers caregivers can increase safety and reduce the risk of injury.

    • Prevent falling accidents. Look for ways to safely secure or eliminate scatter rugs, extension cords or other household items on the floor or in walkways. Handrails and grab bars can be added in critical areas to help increase safety.;
    • Use locks in and around the house. Secure cabinets with locks to limit access to anything that could be dangerous. This includes medicine, alcohol, weapons, toxic chemicals or cleaning supplies and tools.;
    • Plan for emergency situations. The Vitals App increases safety and peace of mind with the only living digital medical ID to communicate health issues to 911 and first responders. Learn how the Vitals App works to keep people safe, no matter the panic, confusion or communication barriers.
    • Set a safe water temperature. You can control the highest temperature your homes hot water heater will go. Lower the thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, or below, to prevent scalding injuries and burns.
    • Prioritize fire and carbon monoxide safety. Keep matches, lighters and highly flammable products out of reach and/or locked in a cabinet. If the person with dementia in your care smokes, they should always be supervised while smoking. A home fire extinguisher should be accessible, and you should replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors at least once a year.

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    Lessons From The Life Of An Alzheimers Caregiver

    Here are 3 lessons from Martys decade-plus journey as a caregiver to help you tackle the challenges that follow Alzheimers.

    Read on!

  • Understand That Ignorance is Worse Than the Disease
  • According to Marty, the only thing worse than Alzheimers is the ignorance of the disease itself.

    Ignorance by the medical profession. Ignorance by the caregivers. And to some extent, even ignorance by the patients themselves

    To overcome this, you need to understand where the real challenges lie and address them before its too late.

    If you fail to do so and solely focus on treating the disease, you might end up spending hundreds of thousands of dollars and still be left with frustration.

    Plus, you might miss out on enjoying the daily moments of happiness with your loved ones.

    All of this can also snowball into depression, anxiety, and unacknowledged grieving for the caregiver.

    Having a better understanding of Alzheimers and the associated challenges will help you make better decisions.

  • Enter Your Loved Ones World
  • So, what did he do? He joined her in HER world.

    In other words, he let go of the person that she was before and started embracing the person that she had become.

    Heres an example of joining her world that Marty shared on the podcast:

    Once, Elaine asked Marty about how her parents were doing. She had no recollection of the fact that they had already passed away.

    Seeing her cry, Marty promised himself that he would never let her go through this moment again.

    Tips On How To Care For Someone With Dementia

    With one person in the world developing dementia every 3 seconds and an estimated 50 million or more people living with the condition globally, dementia is a very real problem.1 Getting the right care is crucial to maintaining a good quality of life for those coping with this problem. To add to it, dementia doesnt just affect the individual but also those around them. Navigating what can sometimes be a very emotional and difficult path may seem daunting, but there are some ways to make it easier. What follows is a look at how to care for someone with dementia, ways to keep them happier, and for you to cope too.

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    Care Options For Seniors With Alzheimers Disease

    Alzheimers tends to progress in;three general stages, including mild, moderate, and severe.;Those in the mild stage of Alzheimers may be able to function independently and continue to participate in social and recreational activities. During the moderate stage, which is the longest stage and can last for years, the individual may experience changes in their appetite and sleep patterns, be unable to remember information about themselves, and have an increased tendency to wander and become lost.;

    During the final stage, the individual loses their ability to respond to their environment, carry on a conversation and control their movement. At this stage, it is extremely challenging for family caregivers to provide care for their loved one without professional assistance. ;While youve undoubtedly poured yourself into your role as caregiver and have spent countless hours ensuring that your loved one is safe and comfortable, at some point, theyll need more care than you can reasonably provide. When this time comes, you have two primary options.;

    Adult Day Care Services

    How to offer help to a dementia caregiver

    Adult day care services provide a safe environment, activities, and staff who pay attention to the needs of the person with Alzheimer’s in an adult day care facility. They also provide transportation. The facility may pick up the person with Alzheimer’s, take him or her to day care, and then return the person home. Adult day care services provide a much-needed break for you.

    What to know about costs:

    • Adult day care services charge by the hour.
    • Most insurance plans don’t cover these costs. You must pay all costs not covered by insurance.

    How to find them:

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    Websites And Books On Dementia

    • or call their 24-hour helpline to talk with someone who can help you get services and support.24-Hour Toll-free: 1-800-848-7097 or 206-363-5500
    • or call their 24-hour helpline to talk with someone who can help you get services and support.24-Hour Toll-free: 1-800-272-3900 or email at;
    • Alzheimers.govAn official U.S. government website managed by the US Department of Health and Human Services
    • Helpquide.org;is a website for the general public that includes detailed information on the signs, symptoms and treatment of a variety of different types of dementia and detailed caregiving information.


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