You already know that caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is hard. As a caregiver, you’re facing challenges that you never expected. As your loved one can no longer remember how to do simple tasks that once were taken for granted, you’re wondering what’s next. Now getting through the day is an obstacle course, because your loved one is having problems with every day life, including getting dressed in the morning, how to keep clean, and even how to eat meals.
As the disease progresses, you’re likely hearing repetitive questions, seeing odd behaviors, and perhaps you feel trapped. It’s worse than you ever could have imagined.
There’s hope. It’s important to find and use strategies to bring more calm and understanding to your daily life…to benefit both you and your loved one with Alzheimer’s.
Perhaps that sounds like a pipe dream? It’s not. Working with Alzheimer’s families all the time, I see strategies that will help.
For starters, I recommend that you read the transcript of the recording entitled, “Caring for and Communicating with the Alzheimer’s Patient,” found at our resource center website. The address is: https://s3.amazonaws.com/alzheimers-resources/clients/lance/pdf/caring.pdf. Just click on the link to discover how master Alzheimer’s caregivers take care of themselves and their loved ones.
As an example, here’s a suggestion about how to respond when your loved one says, “I want to go home.” Just remember these three words, and answer: “So do I.” It won’t do any good to argue that your loved one is already at home, or that this is the same home they have lived in with you as husband and wife for 45 years. This works because it brings you into agreement with your loved one, and you’ll feel the anxiety lift. For your loved one, saying that they want to go home may have nothing to do with another house. Instead, often your loved one simply means they wish things were better, and they felt better in a another place and time. They will feel better knowing that you understand, too.
In addition to care concerns, remember that there are many legal and financial issues to address when your loved one has Alzheimer’s. For example, don’t delay in finding how to pay for the cost of Alzheimer’s care, uncovering hidden VA benefits for wartime veterans and surviving spouses, and as having in place crucial legal documents including a powerful power of attorney for financial matters, and a separate power of attorney for health care.
The best advice for dealing with a loved one with Alzheimer’s? Act now. Don’t wait. If you wait until the disease has taken its toll, you’ll lose valuable planning time and your loved one may no longer be able to sign documents needed to protect against becoming impoverished. Don’t delay. Act as soon as you get the first diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia.