Alzheimer’s Caregiver Tips: How to Cope

As a caregiver for an Alzheimer’s patient, whether you are a family member or professional, there are certain guidelines to live by and tips to follow. The number one tip for an Alzheimer’s caregiver is to make time for you. When feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or just worn out, it is important to take a break and let someone else step in to help. You’re not likely to provide the quality care that you usually offer when in the “burnt out” stage.

Watching anyone deteriorate in front of your eyes can be heart wrenching, but this is especially true for those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. You are bound to ride the inevitable emotional rollercoaster. Again, remember as an Alzheimer caregiver it’s ok to take a break and ask for help. Perhaps another family member or friend can contribute. Or maybe you are in need of a vacation but feel that no one else has the experience necessary to care for your loved one for a prolonged period of time? Consider hiring a professional caregiver on a short-term basis. Some home care agencies offer caregivers specially trained in Alzheimer’s care, who can meet the special needs of someone with the disease and handle a variety of situations and behaviors. A good home care provider will work closely with you to learn your loved one’s routine, preferences and needs in order to provide continuity in their Alzheimer’s care.

Another important tip to keep in mind is to remember that everyday is a learning experience with a person with Alzheimer’s. You’re likely to face new behaviors and tendencies as the disease progresses. Pay close attention to your love one or client; you know them best and may sense changes or concerns.  If you notice a dramatic change in behavior, it’s important to look in to causes, as many times medication or physical changes can dramatically impact the person with Alzheimer’s disease. Our director of staff development, Ric Cavanagh, offers some tips for Alzheimer’s caregivers about improving communications:

Alzheimer’s Caregivers Need Rest and Support Too!

Most importantly, get rest! Your good health is critical for both you and your loved one. If feeling like you are at a loss, or beyond overwhelmed, try consulting an expert. Our sister company, Aging Wisely, offers one on one consultations with their expert geriatric care managers, who can help you troubleshoot ways to build routines and overcome challenges involved in caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s.

We understand that when conducting research on Alzheimer’s, trying to gain a better understanding of your loved one’s disease, you may experience information overload. To help save you valuable time, we offer quick Alzheimer’s caregiver “tips of the week.” Sign up for your weekly tip in the box on the right of the screen and look for our regular blog posts on Alzheimer’s caregiving.

We also offer the latest caregiver information and Alzheimer’s disease news via Facebook and Twitter.  Check out our latest caregiver promotion on Facebook, with a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to the Parentgiving.com store.