The tragedy of Alzheimer’s disease is that it strikes people in the prime of their lives, robbing them of their sense and awareness. One of the hardest things a caregiver has to do is watch as the person they love declines and becomes forgetful and confused.
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are treatments and support groups available to help the caregivers, loved ones, and family members of someone living with Alzheimer’s disease deal with their feelings and their losses.
How can you help a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s?
If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, here are some top tips:
Keep your loved one active, make memories and plan family activities together
Set up activities or games to keep your loved one from getting bored or restless – puzzles, card games and crafts, for example. Take photos, write notes or draw pictures; do it properly and with care because you’ll have these things to look back on in the future. When everyone is there, this can be an ideal opportunity to catch up with each other, exchange stories, and pass along information about how things are going.
Keep a journal and write about your feelings.
Some Alzheimer’s patients want to be reminded of the past, and some families find it helpful to have their loved ones write about their life and share the experience. Making a quick trip down memory lane can be an excellent way for everyone involved to spend time together, bond, and create special memories that will last forever. Writing things down can also be a key part of Alzheimer’s care and management.
Keep their home organized and don’t judge your loved one
If you live with your loved one, consider organizing the room to make it easier for him or her to get around and locate important items. You will be depressed and lose patience if you constantly nitpick your loved one or judge his or her memory loss as a shame or shortcoming. Let go of any negative feelings you may have toward the disease by realizing that there is nothing you can do to change this. In time, it will become easier to deal with.
Take care of yourself and enlist the help of a support group if needed
You need to be at your best to care for an elderly relative. It can be hard work physically and mentally. To help yourself to cope you must eat well and get plenty of rest. Reaching out to others who are dealing with the same situation can help you deal with your stress and anxiety. Those who understand what you’re going through are your best bet when it comes to making sense of everything you’re dealing with.
Know when to seek help and avoid stressful situations
If your loved one is suffering, don’t hesitate to seek the guidance of friends, family, or a professional caregiver who can take over some responsibilities but can also offer compassion and understanding. If you’re attending a social function or going on vacation, try to make sure that your loved one is not left alone.