If your parent or family member has Alzheimer’s disease or any other type of dementia, you need to be prepared as you are going to play an important role in caring for your loved one. When you are armed with knowledge about the disease and working with a professional caregiver in San Antonio, there is no doubt that you will be successful in taking care of family member.
While dementia care can be challenging, educating yourself about dementia and having a positive attitude will help you gain control of the situation. There might be some challenges along the way, but the knowledge you obtain will teach you how to react to these surprising situations. (See also: 5 Ways of Recognizing the Signs of Early Dementia)
Here are some key points to consider when caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia:
1. Do not be afraid to seek help
No man is an island, as they say. That said, you should not be afraid to ask for help when needed. Yes, you might be knowledgeable about dementia, but this does not change the fact that there are aspects of caregiving that you might not be aware of. You can lessen the workload when you search for support groups that can provide advice and guidance on how to properly care for your senior loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.
You too can share your own observations and techniques, which can be helpful to other caregivers who are facing difficult time or challenges. When you are providing care for someone with dementia, there will be times when you need someone to lend you a helping hand or simply talk to you.
2. Be Empathetic and Compassionate
You will never know what it feels like to have dementia unless you walk in these people’s shoes. Empathy and compassion are vital to the success of caregiving. Imagine yourself being one of these people with dementia. It is not easy to live a life feeling confused about your whereabouts, or even your identity. It is not going to be a great battle because you will be fighting for that memory you have been trying to hold on to, only to be taken in one harsh blow, without even giving you a warning.
3. Set realistic expectations
Despite the training obtained to make the person with dementia as happy and comfortable as possible, the situation can be unpredictable. There can be bad days and good days. As a caregiver, you need to be as patient as possible because most types of dementia are progressive and irreversible. It can get worse over time and since only dementia induced by medications can be reversed, doing your best to foster the good moments can be a huge help.
4. There is more to dementia than memory loss
Memory loss is just one of the many symptoms of dementia. There are other types of dementia that can change the patient’s personality. It depends on which areas of the brain are affected. An individual with dementia may experience a neurological decline, which has a ripple effect on the patient’s body. There can be changes in their moods and behaviors.
For instance, a senior loved one who used to be very patient can become irritable. There may also have trust issues or may experience hallucinations and delusions. There are types of dementia that reduce or even eliminate the patient’s ability to perform daily activities such as going to the toilet or dressing. They also have the tendency to become non-communicative and distant to loved ones. (See also: 3 Ways to Reduce Dementia Risk and Enhance Longevity)
5. Let your loved ones be independent every once in a while
It is tempting to do everything for your loved one with dementia, but it is also necessary for them to be as active as possible. By giving them independence, you can help them focus on their mind’s health. Physical exercise is one way to make your loved one productive. You can lead and allow them to follow.
6. Plan ahead
Change is inevitable and the only thing that is constant in this world. When you care for your loved one with dementia, keep in mind that the situation will never be predictable. You need to be prepared as there will come a time when the situation requires professional memory care.
When planning for the future, make sure that you are not only mentally ready but financially prepared as well. Reassess the needs of your loved one and be prepared for any transitions that will be required, which will often include moving to a hospice care.
Alzheimer’s disease and any other types of dementia is a brain disorder. Although you might try to change or control their behavior, the attempt will most likely be unsuccessful. Even when met, there will be resistance. Instead of controlling their behavior, try to accommodate it. If they insist on sleeping on the floor, you can place a mattress to make the person feel comfortable. So long as it does not pose a threat to their safety or health, accommodating the behavior is fine.