In honor of November’s National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month, BrightStar Care put together a list of tips to help families that are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease:
- Put together a team. This isn’t a task you want to tackle alone. There are programs to assist families who are caring for Alzheimer’s sufferers. BrightStar Care offers educational resources for family members, including a wide range of materials that give insight into Alzheimer’s and dementia, along with self-care and wellness tips for family members.
- Recognize what’s normal. Forgetfulness is a common symptom of aging and isn’t always the result of Alzheimer’s or dementia. While forgetting what you had for dinner last night may be a typical slip of memory, forgetting how to prepare a favorite meal or putting things in unusual places are likely symptoms of something more serious. It’s important to make the distinction between what is normal and what is not.
- Stay organized. With multiple physician orders, appointment dates and medications to take, things can get cluttered and unorganized quickly. An online tool, like CareTogether, helps keep communication open between caregivers and family members. CareTogether allows everyone involved in the care process to access calendar appointments, health updates and medicine scheduling for the individual. In addition, CareTogether has condition-specific resources available to further assist caregivers for specific conditions including dementia.
- Record changes. Keep track of any changes in behavior and be prepared to explain the differences to the caregiver team. While changes may seem insubstantial, they could signify a decline in your loved one’s health or in many instances, another illness super-imposed on top of the underlying dementia.
- Be supportive. Listen to your loved one and respect their needs. Coping with the diagnosis, symptoms and an overall lifestyle change can be extremely difficult. Keep communication open and make sure everyone involved in the care process can communicate their needs, emotions and even frustrations effectively. Although it may be difficult to talk openly, it can greatly relieve stress.