Navigating Alzheimer’s: A Guide for Families and Caregivers

September 21st is World Alzheimer’s Day, a day to shed light on Alzheimer’s disease, its impact, and the importance of support and understanding. For children of parents living with Alzheimer’s, this day carries significant weight. It’s a reminder of the everyday challenges, and the need for support and education to navigate this complex journey.

My Parent Has Alzheimer’s Disease, Now What?

This progressive brain disorder affects memory, thinking, and behavior. It can be emotionally and mentally taxing for both the person diagnosed and their loved ones struggling for ways to be supportive.

Knowledge is powerful so asking questions and doing your own research is crucial. Understanding the different stages, symptoms, and treatment options can help you anticipate changes and make informed decisions. This removes some of the stress of worrying about future possibilities and allows you to stay present with your loved one through each stage.

Supporting and caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be very taxing and emotionally draining. Reach out to your local Alzheimer’s support groups or organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association. Connecting with others who are going through similar experiences can provide invaluable guidance and emotional support.

Balancing the responsibilities of caregiving with a professional life can be very challenging. Consider discussing your situation with your employer. Many workplaces offer flexible schedules or remote work options that can make caregiving more manageable.

Managing Day to Day Life

Alzheimer’s disease changes your loved one’s behavior and personality. This often happens from moment to moment. Approach each new version of your loved one by following their lead. Instead of correcting them, try to enter their current reality and play along. Speak slowly and use clear, simple language. Avoid arguing or correcting them; instead, redirect the conversation if they appear confused or seem to be getting agitated. It will make interactions more comfortable for both of you.

Establishing a routine can provide a sense of stability for someone with Alzheimer’s. Try to maintain consistent daily schedules for meals, medication, and activities. If you are supporting a loved one that is living at home, keeping track of medications can be challenging. Consider using pill organizers or medication management apps to ensure they take their medications as prescribed.

As the disease progresses, safety can become more of a concern. In moments of confusion, your loved one may forget their surroundings and feel disoriented. This can lead to wandering away from home and getting lost, even in familiar surroundings. To empower them to stay at home and keep them as safe as possible, consider installing locks or alarms on doors, make use of GPS tracking devices, and ensure that your loved one carries identification with contact information.

It is also a good idea to remove clutter from walkways, install grab bars in bathrooms, make use of non-slip mats, and ensure good lighting throughout the house to reduce the risk of falls.

Take Wellbeing Breaks! Delegate tasks to other family members or hire professional caregivers if needed. There are even respite care services that provide temporary relief for caregivers, allowing you to take a break and recharge your batteries.

Celebrate the Small Victories

As Alzheimer’s Awareness Day approaches, take a moment to honor your parent and yourself. Acknowledge the love and dedication you’ve shown throughout this journey. Celebrate the small victories and cherish the moments of connection that Alzheimer’s can’t take away.

Remember, you are not alone in this journey. Seek support, stay informed, and prioritize self-care. Together, we can raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and work towards a future where effective treatments and, ultimately, a cure, are within reach.

Your dedication and love are powerful forces that can make a difference in your parent’s life and the lives of many others facing Alzheimer’s disease.

Jennifer Tasker

Connect with Jenny on The Wellness Universe.

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