Alzheimer's is a horrible disease, both for the person who has it and their loved ones. It is incredibly difficult to watch a person change as the disease progresses, and it is hard not to feel frustrated knowing there is nothing you can do to fix things. Most people with Alzheimer's get to a point where they can no longer live at home alone without supervision. If you have volunteered to be a caretaker for a family member with Alzheimer's, use the following tips:
Develop a Routine
When you have a person with Alzheimer's living with you, it can be very beneficial to develop and keep a daily routine. This can provide a sense of familiarity and structure for your loved one that will help the days go smoother. When developing a daily routine, try to make sure everyone wakes up at the same time and has meals on a regular schedule.
Confusion and difficulty expressing ideas coherently is a part of Alzheimer's disease that can be very frustrating for both the patient and caregiver. If one of your loved one's has Alzheimer's and you are taking care of him or her, you will want to learn how to communicate clearly. Try speaking slowly, as it may take a person with Alzheimer's a little bit longer to process what you are saying.
You may also want to begin using close-ended questions that can be answered with Yes or No in order to make it easier for your loved one to communicate. It is also common to have to repeat yourself often, especially if your loved one is in the later stages of Alzheimer's.
Contact a Home Health Care Agency
No matter how much you love a person, it can be overwhelming to be a full-time caregiver for someone with Alzheimer's. A home health care agency can provide skilled nursing care when needed and send professionals over to help with personal hygiene and bathing. Some home health care agencies also have staff members who can assist with errands, preparing meals, and providing companionship. Utilizing a home health care agency can give you a much needed break so you can also take care of yourself. These services are often covered by health insurance, but call your loved one's insurance provider for details.
Know When a Nursing Home May Be the Best Option
While you may want to care for your loved one yourself, there may come a time when a nursing home is a better option. This can be especially true if your loved one has other health problems that require extensive medical care. Communicate regularly with your loved one's doctor to make sure he or she is still healthy enough to live with you.