If you’re caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s, you already know the incredible amount of patience it can take. There are ups and downs, and good days and bad days. It’s important to know that you aren’t alone as a family caregiver, and there are many resources—like this blog—that you can turn to on the days you’re looking for some extra guidance.
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, it will become more challenging for the individual to handle daily tasks. However, this doesn’t mean that they can’t participate in activities or have a routine. The tips below can help you provide the day to day care your loved one needs, while helping them maintain a sense of purpose, independence, and dignity.
Communicate on your loved one’s level
Realize that conversations and interactions with your loved one may not go the way you’d like them to. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t communicate—it simply means that you’ll have to meet them on their level. Avoid arguments or trying to correct them. If they believe they’re a certain age and you try to correct them, this can lead to further confusion and frustration. If they do start getting upset or frustrated, try changing the subject or redirecting their attention to something else.
Maintain a safe environment
Adapt your home to be memory care friendly. Doing so will help keep your loved one safe and comfortable, while giving them a feeling of independence for as long as possible. Keeping clutter to a minimum and your home well-lit will reduce tripping hazards. Medications or other potential hazards should be locked away out of reach. As the disease progresses, it can be helpful to label important items or rooms for your loved one, to help them navigate through their daily routines.
Reduce frustrations where possible
While not every day will go smoothly, a little bit of patience can go a long way. Adjust the things you can control to reduce the chances of frustrations from creeping up. Schedule appointments for when your loved one is most alert during the day. Know that simple tasks may take more time than you’re used to—and allow for that time.
Know that every day may not go as planned, and there will still be ups and downs no matter how much you plan ahead. Having high expectations can be a recipe for disappointment. Instead, focus on the little victories and accomplishments of each day.
Create a daily routine that has a balance of activities and rest
Flexibility is key here as well, but it can be helpful to create a daily routine for both you and your loved one. Pay attention to the activities that they enjoy, and consider activities that you can both do together and which time of day your loved one seems to function best. Creating a balance of activities and time for rest can help them (and you) through the day. Regular times for waking up and going to bed are also helpful if your loved one has trouble sleeping.
Don’t be afraid to get help
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, it can become increasingly difficult to care for a loved one at home and give them the best quality of life possible. Hiring additional in-home care is one option. Memory care in an assisted living facility is another.
If you’re looking for additional support, Loretto can help. We’re one of the largest providers of Alzheimer’s and dementia care in the region, offering the first residential program in Central New York created especially for affected individuals at our Heritage Community. We’re also making new investments to further support memory care with our 5-million-dollar Memory Care Campaign.