November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and Family Caregiver Month.
The Alzheimer’s Association reports that in the U.S. there are more than 15 million Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers. Alzheimer’s Disease fundamentally alters the mental state of it’s victims, which makes it very difficult to cope with for the patient and for their caregiver.
Being a caregiver is tough enough without the added challenges that come with the disease. Throughout this article, we’ll share helpful Alzheimer’s care tips and resources from all across the web.
The Alzheimer’s Association’s Top 5 Care Tips
1.) Try not to take behaviors personally.
Their behavior is not personal, their brain functioning has been significantly altered. They do not mean to be difficult or argumentative.
2.) Remain patient and calm.
This is the key. Remind yourself that their inability to remember can be quite terrifying and frustrating for them, so always try to be calm and kind with them.
3.) Explore pain as a trigger.
Sometimes pain can cause a person with Alzheimer’s to behave aggressively. Try to rule out pain when trying to find the trigger for their aggression. If you do find there’s pain, take them to the doctor to see what can be done to treat it.
4.) Don’t argue or try to convince.
You can go in circles all day if you’re trying to convince someone with Alzheimer’s of something. Sometimes they can’t be reasoned with. Instead, change the direction of the conversation.
5.) Accept behaviors as a reality of the disease and try to work through it.
Acknowledge the facts and do the best you can.
CBS’s News Story on Alzheimer’s Effect on Caregivers
This video shows the toll that caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can take, and it emphasizes the symptoms of caregiver stress to watch out for.
Helpguide.org’s Tips for Coping With Stress and Burnout during Alzheimer’s Care
1.) Seek regular respite care.
Don’t try to do it alone. Seek support from your family friends, support groups, care programs, and any other local care facilities nearby.
2.) Keep moving.
Regular exercise will keep you fit and it releases endorphins that boost your mood. This will help keep you going when times are tough.
3.) Talk it over.
Don’t feel like you are being a burden when discussing your caregiving experience with others. Talking through your struggles is healthy and can be an effective form of cathartic release. This works whether you speak with a friend, family member, or therapist.
4.) Take time to play.
Play with your Alzheimer’s-afflicted loved one if they still have this capability. Playing is an affordable form of therapy that is fun for all involved. Try a simple board game, puzzle, or interacting with a pet.
5.) Try something new.
Try a new exercise video game or learn a new language. Challenge yourself to something new and fun to help take your mind off your duties in your free time.
6.) See the funny side.
Sometimes there is nothing else to do in a bad situation except laugh. Your loved one will say and do absurd or ridiculous things at times, and it’s ok for you to laugh. Laughing has a multitude of benefits from relieving stress, to burning calories, and lightening the overall mood in the room.
Additional Help Resources
To get more information about Alzheimer’s or for support, check out these links.
- A Place For Mom’s “Dementia Care Dos & Don’ts: Dealing with Dementia Behavior Problems.”
- Helpguide.org’s Support for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers Page.
- Alzheimer’s Association’s Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Center.
- Caregiving.org’s Resources For Caregivers Page.
We hope these tips help shed some light for you in your caregiving journey. Share this if you know someone who could use a helping hand.