Caring for a senior with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia impacts your daily life. Preparing yourself, understanding your loved one’s experience, and seeking support from friends or family members can help make the process much easier.
Preparation and Education are Key
The more you learn about the disease of Alzheimer’s and its probable progression, the better grasp you’ll have on how it will progress over the years, the better off you’ll be when future challenges arise. In the face of early Alzheimer’s, for example, you can support your senior loved one’s independence and self-care. However, if the senior is already suffering from cognitive and physical regression, he or she will require 24-hour care at some point in the future.
Consult with the senior’s family physician about long-term care options that are best catered to his or her needs. Additionally, senior caregivers can learn about dementia by:
Join a local or online support group: You’re not alone in this fight. There’s a whole community of people out there who are going through the same scenarios and they’re eager to connect with new “friends.” What’s more, connecting with others who intimately understand what you’re going through can also reduce feelings of isolation, fear, and hopelessness.
Learn or update caregiving skills: For many senior caregivers, the job and its responsibilities were essentially laid at their doorsteps. It can be difficult to navigate the caring process. After all, caregivers don’t get a manual to study. However, you’ll find plenty of books, webinars and online training resources that provide up to date information related to dementia. Learning materials will cover symptoms, treatment and behavior management as they apply to Alzheimer’s disease.
Take advantage of your available resources: You can find a ton of local and online resources meant to make the act of senior caregiving more effective. You can start the search by visiting the Alzheimer’s Association and finding the contact information for local support groups or events. These organizations generally offer practical support, help lines, advice, and training for caregivers and their families. They can also put you in touch with local support groups.
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