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Fundamentals of Caring for Someone with Alzheimer's

February 18, 2021

Are you currently caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s? Dementia and memory loss can sometimes be difficult to manage in older adults, but Story Cottage is here to help. Today we’re sharing a few of our top tips and things to remember for those serving as a family caregiver to someone with Alzheimer’s. 

It’s Okay to Accept Support

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you are providing care for a friend or family with Alzheimer’s. Caregiving for someone with this disease is not always easy. Without taking time to yourself for proper self-care, you won’t be able to care for others as well. 

You can accept help from others in the form of time away, meal preparation and more. You may also want to seek out local resources or a nearby support group for other family caregivers, particularly with those also working with Alzheimer’s. 

Empathize with your Loved One

Caregiving necessitates a certain level of compassion and empathy. Although you may not be able to fully understand how you loved one with Alzheimer’s feels, you can still empathize. Imagine how it must feel to increasingly lose your most precious memories, feeling confused and upset much of the time. 

Especially for someone who takes pride in learning new things or stretching their intellectualism, this can be a huge loss. Empathizing with what they are going through will make your caregiving relationship much smoother. 

Be a Realistic Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Although we all want to be optimistic when serving as a caregiver, especially for a loved one, it is also prudent to be realistic about the progression of Alzheimer’s. Most types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, are progressive and irreversible once they take hold.

While there are treatments that can sometimes slow progression, there is currently no known cure for Alzheimer’s. To be a realistic caregiver, keep in mind that your success is measured by making sure that your loved one is comfortable, safe and as happy as possible. 

Alzheimer’s is not just Memory Loss

We all know that the main symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is memory loss, but as a caregiver it’s important to watch for other symptoms and ways that you can help. Alzheimer’s patients may also exhibit poor judgement that can lead to dangerous decisions, as well as wandering or getting lost. You may also notice personality/mood changes, such as anxiety or aggression. 

As the disease progresses further, you could also see delusions, paranoia and difficulty with language, or even more severe symptoms like seizures, difficulty swallowing/breathing or loss of bladder control. Be sure to inform your loved one’s doctor of any symptoms you recognize and how to best deal with them as their caregiver. 

Plan Ahead with your Loved One

As Alzheimer’s progresses, you and your family may find it more difficult to care for your loved one at home. Remember that professional care is available for those with Alzheimer’s and memory loss. As it is possible, you may try to plan ahead and discuss preferred care and financial options with your loved one before preparing to begin professional care. 

At Story Cottage of Central Indiana, our locations at Meridian Hills, Indianapolis and at Carey Grove, Carmel offer first-of-its-kind residential care with an expert staff and premium safety features. With the lowest patient-to-caregiver ratio in the city, you’ll know you can depend on Story Cottage. 

If you are interested in joining the waitlist for Story Cottage at Carey Grove, Carmel please email Carrie Cash. If you have additional questions about Story Cottage, you can schedule a complimentary consultation at 317-449-5696 or online.