There are more than 16 million Dementia and Alzheimer’s carers in the United States alone. During National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness and Family Caregiver Month, we commemorate care partners and carers by offering advice for supporting families living with the disease.
You can find beneficial ways to help, both big and small, whether you’re trying to support someone who has Alzheimer’s or the person who cares for him or her.
- 10 Ways to Support an Alzheimer’s Family
- Become familiar with Alzheimer’s illness. Learn what it does and how to react to it.
- Maintain contact. A card, phone call, or visit means a lot and demonstrates your concern.
- Have patience. Each person responds differently to receiving an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, and adjustment is a continuous process.
- Offer your shoulder support. For the entire family, the illness may be stressful. Simply extending your friendship and support is beneficial.
- Have a chat with the dementia patient. Even when the person’s capacity to participate in the conversation becomes more constrained, it’s crucial to include them.
- Offer to assist the family with their list of tasks. Make a meal, complete a task, or offer transportation.
- Involve your family in activities. Encourage them to go for a stroll or engage in other activities.
- Permit family members a break. Spend time with the dementia patient so that family members can go out on their own or go see friends.
- Be adaptable. Do not lose patience if your request for assistance is not quickly approved. It may take some time for the family to determine its needs.
Help the fight against Alzheimer’s.
Some Interactive Methods or strategies for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients at Home
To promote visual expressiveness
Feelings can be creatively and securely expressed through painting and drawing. Encourage the use of strong, vivid colors on large surfaces. Seniors with dementia can create using rolls of butcher paper without feeling stressed by clearly defined spaces.
Craft tactile sensations.
Seniors with cognitive impairment can experience tactile stimulation and creativity by working with slick clay or pliable play dough. Gewirtz advises touching many things of various sizes, shapes, and textures as well as rubbing lotion into one’s hands.
Collages are a creative way to combine good memories.
Make prints of vintage advertisements and articles, as well as cut-out photos from periodicals. Choose topics like food, cars, or fashion that relate to your loved one’s passions. Scan and print old family photos as an alternative. If a family member is suffering from dementia, you can help them express themselves by letting them create photographs or scrapbook pages by rearranging the materials.
Learn More: Vascular Dementia End Of Life Symptoms
Sensory activities for people with dementia
Take a moment to appreciate the flowers (or coffee, fresh-cut grass, or warm bread)
According to Harvard scientists, studies show that fragrances are more likely than sights to elicit strong emotional memories. This is so because the hippocampus and amygdala, the brain regions that manage memory, also process smells. Positive memories and feelings might be triggered by a familiar scent, such as flowers from a childhood garden or freshly baked Christmas cookies. On the other hand, it’s crucial to stay away from odors that make you uneasy. Older veterans’ PTSD is frequently brought on by diesel fuel and gunpowder.
Look into recognizable items
Memories that may not be accessible through visual or verbal cues can be accessed through tactile investigation. Even if your loved one can’t recall their first automobile or wedding, the feel of substantial keys or hand-embroidered pearls could trigger memories.
Learn about the past while enjoying some tasty treats
Similar to odors, flavors can evoke feelings and memories. Birthdays may be remembered thanks to your mom’s excellent chocolate cake, and a cup of instant coffee may bring back memories of peaceful mornings spent at home.
Feel a range of textures
Various textures offer both sensory stimulation and memory clues. If an elderly member of your family enjoys animals, think about their plush fur. If they enjoyed gardening, propose that they touch some damp leaves or soil. You can create a bag of textiles or building blocks to be sorted by touch to use textures in enjoyable activities.
Helping a loved one at the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia
In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, your loved one may not need much caregiving. Instead, you should probably focus on helping them accept their diagnosis, make plans for the future, and maintain as much health and activity as they can handle.
Consider the prognosis.
Family members may find it challenging to accept the patient’s diagnosis of dementia. Give your loved one and yourself time to assimilate the information, adjust to the new circumstances, and mourn your losses. But don’t allow denial to stop you from getting help early.
Organize your conflicting feelings.
In the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia, feelings of rage, frustration, disbelief, grief, denial, and fear are frequent—for both the patient and you, the carer. Encourage your loved one to keep engaging in pursuits that give their life value and purpose while allowing them to communicate their feelings. Find people you can confide in to help you cope with your concerns, doubts, and grief.
Make use of the tools at your disposal.
On this trip, you can get a lot of support from the local community and online resources. Find the Alzheimer’s Association in your nation, to begin with (see links below). These groups provide carers and their families with training, counseling, helplines, and practical support. They can also connect you with regional support networks.
Do as much research as you can on your loved one’s dementia.
While each person’s experience with Alzheimer’s or dementia is unique, learning more about the disorders and how they are likely to develop will help you better prepare for future difficulties, lessen your aggravation, and create realistic expectations. Caregiving skills can also be taught using books, workshops, and online training materials.
Get ready for the journey ahead.
In the early stages of dementia, your loved one might be able to keep their independence and live alone with your help. However, because of their cognitive and physical deterioration, they will eventually need 24-hour assistance. Making arrangements for your loved one’s future home and care now can ease future worry, allow them to participate in the decision-making process, and guarantee that their legal, financial, and healthcare preferences are honored.
Sources of assistance for carers
Depending on your needs and your budget, in-home caregiving support might range from a few hours per week to live-in aid. To free up your time so that you can provide your loved one with more specialized care, you can also hire help for routine duties like housekeeping, shopping, or other errands.
Your loved one can participate in activities and socialize while at adult daycare, giving you time to work or take care of other responsibilities. Seek out adult daycare facilities with a focus on dementia care.
As a care provider, respite care allows you a period to rest, vacation, or take care of other matters. Enlist friends and family who live near you to run errands, offer a hot meal, or observe the patient so you may take a well-deserved vacation. In-home respite care can also be offered by volunteers or paid staff. Or you might look into programs for out-of-home respite care like adult daycare facilities and nursing homes.
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