Alzheimer’s, A Caregivers Perspective

Alzheimer’s Caregivers Charlotte

As Alzheimer’s Disease progresses, the daily stress on the primary caregiver can start to take its toll. Considering practical survival tips for the caregiver will save hours of frustration and stress. And, remember, you are not alone. In the U.S. there are about 15 million people caring for someone who has cognitive impairment.

Caregiving can become an all-consuming endeavor. As your loved ones cognitive, physical and functional abilities deteriorates over time, it is easy to become overwhelmed and neglect your own well-being and health. The burden of caregiving can put you at increased risk for significant health problems and an estimated 30 to 40 percent of dementia caregivers will experience depression, high levels of stress, or burnout.

Almost all caregivers at one time or another will experience loneliness, despair and/or depression.

Tips for Making the Caregiving Job Easier

1. Schedule wisely

Routines are comforting. Establish a routine that is less confusing and agitating. Schedule appointments during the time of the day when a loved one has the most energy. Allow some flexibility for spontaneity.

2. Take your time

People with Alzheimer’s often move more slowly and should not be rushed as that just promotes more agitation and frustration with potential accidents resulting.

3. Involve the person

Remember to use all the faculties the loved one has left by using visual or verbal cues to stimulate behavior that might otherwise be easily forgotten. Have them set the table or help with the chores as possible.

4. Provide Choices

Few options are best as too many choices can be confusing, but it is important to allow the Alzheimer patient to have some control over life. Let them choose colors of socks or clothes, for example.

5. Provide simple instructions

Use few syllables and make instructions simple and concise.

6. Reduce distractions

Turn off the t.v. during mealtimes and cut down on the environmental chaos.

7. Remain flexible

Relax your expectations and learn to go with the flow. If your loved one wants to wear the same shirt every day consider buying several of the same shirts to allow for laundering. Make life easier.

Create a Safe Environment

  • Get locks. Install locks on cabinets that contain poisons or anything dangerous.
  • Unhook the stove. Many loved ones should not be cooking as it is too dangerous. Again, this will depend on the stage of dementia the loved one is in and the limitations that need to be imposed for safety purposes.
  • Prevent falls. Pick up throw rugs and clutter.
  • Take fire precautions. Put matches and lighters away and out of sight.
  • Check water temperature and lower it at the water heater if necessary.

Having a plan and keeping life simple goes a long way towards being a stress-free caregiver.