Alzheimer’s disease, defined as the loss of intellectual functions, severe enough to interfere with daily life, is the most common of the “dementing illnesses”. As the dementia progresses, it becomes harder and scarier to take care of your loved one, but there are some things that can make your life easier, at least in the early stages.
7 tips for family carers
1. Get information, for instance by contacting The Alzheimer Society of Ireland or Alzheimer’s Society if you live in the UK, to be as informed as possible about what kind of support is available for family carers. It is important to know and to feel that you are not alone with this difficult task.
2. Soon enough, inform your close family members about the diagnosis, and don’t hesitate to ask for their help in taking care of your loved one.
3. Alert your neighbours, in case of any unusual behaviour or wandering off from your loved one, due to memory loss. Your neighbours can even be of some help if they are informed aware of the diagnosis.
4. Try to keep the home brightly illuminated and the noise level down to avoid any confusion for the patient.
5. Try to engage in the same activities that your loved one used to enjoy before the diagnosis. Consistency in the activities will be comforting for the patient.
6. During daily activities such as bathing and eating, assist your loved one gently, and remember to preserve their dignity as much as possible. Be patient, and allow them to do what they can do by themselves.
7. Finally, accept your feelings. Being a caregiver can trigger a lot of emotions such as anger, fear, guilt, and helplessness. It is important to acknowledge those feelings, whether they are good or bad. It is completely normal to have doubts and misgivings, this just means you are human, so don’t beat yourself up.
Alzheimer’s disease support groups
Taking care of a person who has Alzheimer’s disease is a real challenge and a task that becomes harder everyday. This is why you need to ask for help from your family members and friends, and get as much support as you can by joining a carer support group. Here are a few important ones:
If you have any good tips for people dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, or if you know any other helpful organisations, please don’t hesitate to participate in the discussion!