For Alzheimer’s caregivers, each new day is an opportunity to learn something new. These lessons can be edifying, and the job of Alzheimer’s caregivers is rarely dull. Here are five essential lessons to learn about Alzheimer’s caregiving.
1. Distinguishing Between the Disease and the Person
Many seniors with Alzheimer’s exhibit new and unsettling behaviors such as aggression, and it’s only natural to be frustrated by these behavioral patterns. To provide effective care, you need to be able to separate your loved one from the disease. When your loved one acts out, remind yourself that the irrational behavior is a result of Alzheimer’s, not a reflection of his or her character or love for you.
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most serious health issues among the elderly. If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of home care. Palm Beach Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.
2. Finding New Ways to Communicate
Impaired speech is one of the earliest symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, and you may need to develop a new rapport with your loved one that takes communicative issues into account. Try to overcome difficulties by speaking in simple sentences and injecting all statements with positivity. Always adapt to your loved one’s needs instead of forcing him or her to adapt to yours.
3. Taking Each Moment as It Comes
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, seniors start to lose track of time. One moment, they’re back in their childhood home, asking for their mother. The next, they’ve jumped decades into the future. When your loved one jumps about in time, don’t correct him or her. Corrections can leave seniors feeling chastised or anxious. Instead, try to accommodate your loved one’s lapses in memory. If he or she asks about a long-dead aunt, respond to the query in a soothing manner, rather than a strictly informative one. Instead of approaching time lapses with logic, let your loved one live from moment to moment, especially if he or she is having fun. Ask what your loved one remembers about that particular aunt, and you might be surprised by how many old memories he or she has retained.
4. Handling the Emotional Complexities of Caregiving
Family caregivers have to manage the emotional components of their job, and there are few jobs as emotionally complex as providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. You may cycle through positive and negative emotions on a regular basis, but you shouldn’t judge yourself for your negative reactions. However, it’s crucial to have a healthy outlet for your emotions. Some caregivers find that attending caregiver support groups are cathartic, while others prefer to get rid of anxiety via exercise.
In Palm Beach, respite care is a great help to many families. Caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times, which puts family caregivers at risk for burnout. However, an in-home caregiver can take over your loved one’s care, allowing you the time you need to focus on your own health, maintain a full-time job, or care for other members of your family.
5. Focusing on Your Loved One When All Else Fails
Due to the nature of Alzheimer’s, your loved one’s condition will likely progress. While it’s easy to understand this in theory, it’s also easy to blame yourself as new symptoms emerge. If you start to doubt your caregiving prowess, try to shift focus to your loved one. When you concentrate on your loved one’s behaviors rather than your own negative feelings, it may have positive results. For example, if your loved one starts behaving aggressively, look for behavioral triggers. You might discover the aggression is triggered by loud noises, which can help you resolve the problem.
Caring for older adults with Alzheimer’s disease can be a difficult task. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Palm Beach elderly care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more. To learn about our high-quality in-home care plans, give us a call at 561.429.8292 today.