Coping with Alzheimer’s as a Caregiver
Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease. Sometimes called “The Long Goodbye,”, it can turn your life upside down for years.
It robs your loved one of their memory . It can rob you of your peace of mind.
But there is hope. Although there is no current cure for the disease, you can learn how to cope with the disease…and regain your peace of mind…once you’ve learned the steps smart Alzheimer’s caregivers use.
If you or your loved one has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, you likely have lots of questions, such as:
- What is Alzheimer’s disease?
- What future needs will my loved one have?
- How do I deal with what lies ahead?
The place to start is getting information on the care needed for someone with Alzheimer’s. Perhaps that’s your spouse, or your parent, or another person close to you. Or you may even be concerned about Alzheimer’s for yourself.
As you or your loved one goes through the through the stages of the disease, your concerns will change. As a caregiver, your role will change, too.
In the early stages, you may have questions about whether your loved one can continue to drive. Or perhaps you are concerned about how to get your or their affairs in order.
As the dementia progresses, you may have questions about caregiving techniques, medical issues, and what the best living arrangement is.
Late stage Alzheimer’s bring new questions as you try to contribute to your loved one’s quality of life, even as that becomes more difficult to do.
Often families need help with a variety of concerns, such as:
- Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease; depression and other medical issues
- Caregivers’ emotions and family involvement
- Driving and other safety issues
- Practical tips for activities of daily living
- Advice about adult day centers, in-home care, assisted living facilities, hospice, and nursing homes
- Resources for additional information, assistance, and support groups
- Medicaid and how to cover the cost of your loved one’s care
Know that even though life’s challenges may be frustrating and frightening, you are not alone.
Others have taken the journey. Their experience and advice will help you as you deal with
caregiving, legal matters, and your own emotions. You may also rediscover your sense of humor and
learn to appreciate the loving times and shared experiences with your loved one and other family
You did not ask for your loved one to have Alzheimer’s disease, but perhaps you can begin to see the
blessings as well as the sadness. As President Ronald Reagan’s son, Ron, said after his father’s death,
“My dad may not always have known what was going on, but he could always feel the love.”