How to Care for Someone With Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s doesn’t just affect the one who has it—it transforms the lives of those around them.
This devastating illness affects more than 5 million Americans who are living with the disease, and it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, according to information from the Alzheimer’s Association.
As terrifying as these statistics are, we want you to know that as a caregiver, you’re not alone.
We are here for you and your loved one, helping you find the best possible environment to meet their needs.
We’ll review some of the most important aspects of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or other dementias and how memory care has provided relief for thousands of families.
What Alzheimer’s Is (and Isn’t)
It’s important to note that Alzheimer’s disease is not merely forgetfulness. Everyone has memory problems now and then, and it’s not unusual to occasionally let a bill payment slip through the cracks.
The difference is, with Alzheimer’s, these incidents occur so frequently that they make it impossible to complete everyday activities.
In its more advanced stages, Alzheimer’s may cause difficulty with balance or walking, and those with the disease may become moody, irritable, or even aggressive.
What Causes Alzheimer’s?
Research is ongoing, and scientists are still working toward understanding the exact causes of Alzheimer’s. However, according to the National Institute on Aging, it’s likely a combination of factors—not one element—that cause Alzheimer’s disease. These include:
- Genetics: Alzheimer’s tends to run in families
- Age: While age does not cause Alzheimer’s, around one-third of all those age 85 and older have Alzheimer’s.
- Lifestyle factors: There appears to be a relationship between cognitive (thinking) problems and conditions such as stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease. Researchers think there may also be an association between Alzheimer’s, obesity and diabetes.
Tips for Caring for Someone With Alzheimer’s
If someone you love has Alzheimer’s, meeting their needs and caring for them is a constant challenge. Following are some points to keep in mind:
Create a Safe Environment
Safety is the first priority when caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Often, it takes an incident such as leaving on the stove, or accidentally starting a fire to bring this to the family’s attention.
Many with Alzheimer’s may get lost in surroundings or neighborhoods that are familiar to them, and others may be prone to wander.
Creating a safe environment takes a lot of time and energy, but it is a vital element of caring for those with this form of dementia.
Reduce their frustrations
Those with Alzheimer’s may become easily agitated, especially if tasks they used to easily complete now take much more effort. Therefore, try to eliminate any unnecessary challenges they may face. You can do this by:
- Keeping a daily routine
- Providing plenty of time to complete tasks
- Allowing extra time to get ready for appointments or errands
- Encouraging your loved one to complete tasks as much as possible without assistance
- Avoiding overwhelming them with choices
- Reducing distractions such as TV or multiple conversations
Your life is completely transformed when you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. Your schedule and your time are no longer you own, and your loved one will likely take priority over your own activities.
This means it is important to remain flexible: There will be changes to your life, and it will help to relax any rigid routines you may have.
Many caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s find that they can be best served by a memory care community, where the one they love will be supervised by staff members who have received extensive training on working with those who have difficulties with memory, dementia, and diseases like Alzheimer’s. These communities will not only create a safe and stable environment, but they will also provide compassionate care and empathy.
Consider Placement in a Memory Care Community
We’ve already mentioned some of the benefits of a memory care community. Not only does it alleviate worry over your loved one’s safety, but it does something else—it allows you to step back from your role as caregiver so you can return to your role as a son, daughter or spouse.
We realize this is a big decision, one that is maybe overwhelming and creating a sense of guilt. But there’s no reason to feel guilty—we will care for your loved one as if they were a member of our own family because, in many ways, they are.
Cedar Cove is a Valuable Source of Memory Care in Wilmington, NC
As an assisted living community in New Hanover County, NC, we have created an environment that reminds our residents of home. A quick tour will enable you to easily see why our residents love living at Cedar Cove.
Contact us to schedule a virtual tour today.