When you are responsible for caring for a loved one with dementia, you will be faced with an increasingly wide range of emotions, with the whole experience feeling particularly daunting, especially if you are the principal caregiver.
Here are some comprehensive pieces of advice for dealing with your emotions and how to care for a loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This could be just what you need to get through what can be a difficult time for many.
One of the main problems when caring long-term for a loved one with dementia is adapting to changing how you communicate with them on a daily basis, this being one of the biggest problems associated with home caregiving.
Obviously, there are plenty of people who are suffering from memory-based illnesses who, certainly at present, are perfectly capable of communicating with you as clearly and easily as they always have. Unfortunately, however, it is more than likely that, over time, your family member will start to struggle with recollecting pieces of information and even starting to forget what they were about to say in the middle of saying it.
No matter how frustrated you become when talking to your loved one, always strive to keep your tone as relaxed and as even as possible, matching your facial expression and body language to theirs. Always be as positive as possible and show your loved one the utmost respect even when you feel yourself getting hot and bothered. Remember to use their name regularly and before you start a conversation, strive to switch off all distractions such as the television and radio.
Other tips to successfully communicate with your loved one include keeping an eye out for nonverbal clues as to how they are feeling, speaking slower than normal and as clearly as possible, and keeping your questions and responses simple and to the point.
Try Not To Neglect Your Own Self Care Needs
Like when you are traveling in an airplane, and the attendants instruct you to look after your own oxygen rather than someone else’s, it would be impossible for you to give the proper care to a loved one who is suffering from dementia when your own self-care needs are not being met.
If you find you and your family members are no longer adequately prepared and equipped to care for your loved one, it may be time to consider moving them to an assisted living facility where they can live as independently as possible while being in a safe, secure and positive environment with staff who are medical professionals who are trained to care for people suffering from memory-based illnesses. Professional, established, and dedicated assisted living facilities aim to enrich their residents who are suffering from memory-based illnesses such as dementia’s quality of life for as long and as much as possible.
Professional Alzheimer’s Care Options
Tragically and much to the devastation of many, there is currently no discovered cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and therefore, even more tragically, the progressive nature of the disease means that eventually, your loved one will need professional, round the clock care. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule, and it may be possible for your loved one to continue to live in their home, providing they have round-the-clock care.
Different stages of Alzheimer’s disease require different levels of professional care and deciding on the right kind of professional care is utterly down to the individual in question, their specific needs, and how quickly their particular strain of the disease is progressing.
The various options for professional Alzheimer’s care throughout the United States include:
- At Home Care
- Respite Care
- Senior Living Communities
- Adult Day Centers
At Home Care
The fundamental and, perhaps, overtly obvious benefit of choosing at-home care for your loved one is that they are able to remain in their home in a familiar and comfortable environment. Again, dependent on the severity of your loved one’s Alzheimer’s disease, it may be enough at this stage to arrange for homemaker services to visit once a day and help out with daily chores such as washing, cleaning, and meal preparation.
If your loved one is struggling to dress or is letting their personal hygiene slip, personal care services can be arranged, and where applicable, medical professionals can be arranged to visit your loved one to help with medication and physical therapy.
Senior Living Communities
Senior living communities are specifically designed for adults who have reached a certain age and now require a certain level of professional care. Moreover, most established and experienced senior living communities offering Alzheimers care in San Jose have more secure buildings onsite specifically designed for those residents who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Contrary to popular belief, senior living communities aim to promote independent living for as long as and as much as possible, and help is only provided if and when your loved one either needs or wants it. Every resident is provided with their own apartment, even in memory care facilities, and they are more than welcome to personalize their own space as they see fit. Particularly pertinent when discussing Alzheimer’s, the opportunity to furnish and decorate with their own belongings from home will make the transition to the community as smooth as possible as your loved one will be surrounded by all things familiar.
Adult Day Centers
Adult day centers are often described as a lifeline for primary caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s disease as they offer them a well-earned break from caregiving while simultaneously entertaining, in a safe and secure environment, the loved one.
Naturally, adult day centers vary greatly, and it is strongly advisable to do as much research as possible in and around your local area before choosing a center. Generally, however, an established and professional adult day center that specializes in Alzheimer’s offers a combination of counseling services, medical care, nutrition guidance, personal care services, and even behavior management.
For anyone that is currently dealing with this by themselves, take comfort in this piece to know that there is help out there for you.