Alzheimer’s disease can cause emotional issues for patients and for their families. This is natural as the disease progresses. It’s never easy to watch while mind and personality disappears from someone you love. Many caregivers and family members ignore their own well-being during this difficult time. But this only makes matters worse.
If someone you love is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, know this: Alzheimer’s is a disease that will affect the entire family. It’s tough on everyone. So, don’t play the selfless martyr. Take care of your loved one, of course, but make sure you also take care of yourself.
Here’s some Alzheimer’s care advice that will help:
5 Alzheimer’s Care Tips For Family
1 – Family Feuding
Alzheimer’s can push people apart during times of intense stress, as much as it can also bring everyone together. Feel like conflict may arise? It is only natural in high pressure situations for arguments to occur. The best way to avoid as much conflict as possible is by making sure each family member is helping and sharing duties that go along with caring for your loved one.
Try splitting up the work load! Do not take on too much. If you cannot handle the amount of care you have taken on, ask another family member to step up. Sometimes spreading yourself too thin can have a negative result. Do what you can, when you can.
If someone in the family is better at taking care of finances, make sure they are handling the payments to the caregivers and doctors. A family member without work may be well suited to take care of your loved one in between caregivers. This can be cost effective for your family and can give the two family members more time together. Having family around your relative can benefit them and keep them more aware of who you are.
Related Article: 5 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts & Warnings To Be Aware Of
2 – Keep Everyone in The Loop
Meeting with the whole family is a good way to make sure nobody is left out. Making sure everyone is on the same page with the care that your family member is receiving is crucial to maintaining your own well-being, as well as making sure that your Alzheimer’s afflicted family member is getting the best care possible.
Not only is it important to help all the adults in your family understand Alzheimer’s, it’s important for the kids, too!
3 – Kids Can Understand Alzheimer’s
Helping children understand Alzheimer’s can be difficult. Children do not see the disease the same way as adults, and processing what is happening to their family member may be hard for them.
Family members and caregivers should explain the disease in simple terms the child will understand. Make sure you leave an open line of communication with your children, reminding them that they can ask as many questions as they need to. Naturally, children will be disappointed and upset if their grandmother, grandfather, or other respected elder can no longer remember them, so be sure to remind them that this loved one still loves them. Also, reassure children that Alzheimer’s is not contagious, nobody will catch the disease. Finally, don’t be afraid of letting your children spend time with this family member–this can actually be a great way for them to become more acquainted with the disease.
4 – Accepting Change
Do not expect your children to accept the changes easily. Always be ready for an unexpected situation, as your child may not react as you think they will. Do not be afraid, though! Children are likely to be hesitant in addressing the situation, as it is completely new to them and may make them uncomfortable. Allowing your children to ask questions and inviting them to do so will make the flow of conversation about Alzheimer’s and your family member more fluid.
Along with simple questions, it may be beneficial for the child to help out with the care of their family member. Having children participate in some care can help them adjust to the changes being made around them. Eating meals together, playing matching games, dancing, listening to music and arts and crafts are easy ways to have children interact with their relative while still doing things that are familiar to them.
As much as these activities can help the interaction between child and loved one, the activities also help stimulate the mind of your family member with Alzheimer’s. Keeping their mind stimulated is important as their Alzheimer’s worsens, as it can help them remember things that they may have sooner lost.
5 – Balance Yourself
Giving your loved one the best care starts with caring for yourself first. If you are not at your best, you cannot give as much support to your family member. Also, remember this: your loved one may not always remember who you are, but this doesn’t mean you are helping them for nothing. You can’t expect an Alzheimer’s patient to thank you, so if you choose to help them, you must do so because it makes you feel good to help. Look internally, and ask yourself why you are doing this. And make sure your answer isn’t all about them. If it is, you may want to do some internal work to find your own why for being a caregiver.
If you’re looking for a memory care facility that’s stellar, look no further. Contact Stellar Senior Living today for more information about our award winning memory care facilities. Click here to find a facility near you or give us a call at 801-495-7000.
Stellar Senior Living is one of the leading providers of Alzheimer’s and Dementia care in the U.S. Through our unique Rising Stars Program, we provide our memory care residents with a happy and fulfilled experience. We offer a wide range of activities, and use the Montessori method, which encourages residents to experience and do more. In addition, residents live within Memory Care Neighborhoods; living spaces specifically designed to support the cognitive challenges brought on by Alzheimer’s disease.