Supporting and Caring for an Elderly Loved One with Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Watching over a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s is disorienting and heartbreaking. They can forget who they are, get agitated, and repeat themselves. And with time, they can even forget you. This is what we call ‘the long goodbye.’ Although new medications can slow progress of dementia and Alzheimer’s, there is no cure for the 6.5 million Americans with these conditions.

Challenges & Rewards of Care

Caring for an elderly loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease often comes with great changes as you will be watching their skills erode and memories disappear. People with these conditions can change as well as behave in upsetting, disturbing, or different ways. For caregivers and their loved ones, these changes may lead to an emotional wallop of sadness, frustration, and confusion. As the condition progresses through different phases, the needs of your loved one will increase, while your financial and caregiving responsibilities will be more challenging. However, where there are challenges, there are rewards, too. For instance, through Alzheimer’s and dementia care in Columbia, MD, you will connect with your loved one on a deeper level. Apart from this connection, other rewards of care include the following:

  • Changes your point of view when it comes to life
  • Teaches young family members the need for acceptance, compassion, and caring
  • Adds sense of achievement

Tips for Supporting a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia

It will also be thoughtful to team up with other family members/relatives to plan for your loved one’s future. In addition to planning for your loved one’s future, use these tips that experts at Capital City Nurses suggest to offer support where you can:

  1. Connect with a Coordinator

You have to consider many things when you start to care for your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Interpersonal, health, safety, and legal changes must be made. A dementia care coordinator may help with medication management, medical attention, nutrition support, and safety concerns. They can be more helpful when your loved one has other health issues that require treatment. Some coordinators can also carry out an assessment to check your living and home situation. With this, you can make a list of work and needs to address.

  1. Get Prepared to Be a Caregiver

To prepare yourself, do these two things: be involved and enlighten yourself. When a loved one gets diagnosed with either condition, have an appointment with the doctor to know about your responsibilities. Your doctor can suggest everyday activities or routines, which are more comforting. They can recommend support services that can help you manage the needs of your loved one. You will also need to educate yourself by joining support groups. With these support groups, you will not find it necessary to reinvent the wheel since you already have other people who can offer you helpful caregiving strategies.

  1. Boost Your Loved One’s Self-esteem

Alzheimer’s disease can easily affect the self-esteem and confidence of your loved one. Therefore, as a caregiver, you have the responsibility of boosting their self-esteem in various ways, like:

  • Concentrating on what your loved can achieve, and not what they can’t
  • Including the loved one in discussions and avoiding talking about them when they are not present
  • Trying to know what they want and respecting their wishes

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are progressive conditions, and the progression rate often varies from one person to another. This means, you can be a caregiver for just a few months or in the long-term. That’s why it is important to set both long-term and short-term plan for legal, financial, and medical care matters.

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