The Dos and Don'ts of Alzheimer's Caregiving

  • August 18, 2017

Caring for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease can make you feel like you’ve entered a new world where every day is an education. You learn about the disease, you learn about yourself, and you learn how to cope. 

Nobody can do it alone, however, so here are some basic dos and don’ts of caregiving for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease. 

First, Build a Network of Trusted Support

The demands of caregiving can be difficult. That’s why it’s good to know there are resources to help people like you, who are the primary caregivers for a relative who has Alzheimer’s disease.
 
For starters, there’s a national organization called the Alzheimer’s Association. A nonprofit agency that supports research, provides support for caregivers, and promotes brain health, the organization has local chapters throughout the country. They also maintain a 24/7 helpline for caregivers and family members of people who have the disease. 

The Alzheimer’s Association offers dozens of tips on caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. From creating a daily plan to tips on personal care, there’s a lot of ground to cover if you’re just starting your ‘education’ on the disease. 

The Top Five Do’s and Don’ts of Alzheimer’s Caregiving

The Alzheimer’s Association has an abundant --- somewhat overwhelming--- amount of information for seniors with dementia and their families. Fortunately, they do provide some ‘Cliff’s Notes’ that summarize their top five tips.

1. Do What You Can to Involve Your Loved One in Fun Activities

People who have Alzheimer's can still enjoy activities they loved before they developed the disease, but they may find certain aspects challenging now. Help them find ways to modify their favorite hobbies and pastimes so they can still enjoy them. 

2. Promote Independence: Don’t Treat Them Like a Child

Independence is important for all older adults, including those who have Alzheimer’s disease. Let your loved one do as much as they can manage. This not only preserves their dignity but some experts say it can also help slow the progression of the disease.

3. Whenever You Can, Offer Choices

Offering your loved one choice is another way of preserving dignity. This also serves to keep him or her engaged in daily life. That keeps the mind active, which may aid in slowing the disease process down. 

4. Establish a Routine for Daily Living

For someone with Alzheimer’s disease, routine is comforting. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends creating a daily plan. Structure helps people with dementia feel more independent and in control of their day. It also relieves the stress people with memory loss feel when they try to organize and plan.

5. Stay Informed: Don’t be Left Out

It’s important to stay informed about Alzheimer’s, caregiving topics and the latest research. At Five Star Senior Living, we are grateful to the Alzheimer’s Association for the resources, support groups, and services they provide. Every day and in dozens of ways, we strive to uphold the standards of support and service they provide. 

We provide online caregiver resources for families, too. This is in the form of an ongoing series of helpful and informative articles in the ‘Resources for Families’ area of our website.  You can also find regular updates on our senior living blog. The blog covers a wide range of caregiving topics, and you’ll find articles that may be of interest to your senior loved one and other family members, too. 

If you’d like updates delivered to your inbox a few times each month, visit our senior living blog and subscribe. We promise we won’t fill up your inbox with junk. It’s a great way to stay informed about Alzheimer’s and your role as a caregiver!

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