A friend recently assumed the care of her sister who has Alzheimer’s. She never expected the intense time commitment and frustrations this would involve. Do you have friends in this same situation?
Reach out a helping hand:
- If you live nearby, offer to stay with the Alzheimer’s patient for short periods so the caregiver can have some free time.
- Be available for chats, even if it’s simply instant messaging or e-mails of encouragement.
- Send cards that will encourage the caregiver.
- Share some of your experiences so she/he will know they’re not alone.
- Encourage them to find humor in various situations.
- Offer tips if the caregiver is receptive.
- Make a meal for the family occasionally.
- Offer to run errands if you can’t sit with the patient while the caregiver does this.
What have you found helpful when you’ve been a caregiver? How do you help other caregivers?
“It’s so sad,” a friend remarked. “My mother doesn’t remember her grandchildren and it makes them so sad. I don’t like to take them to the nursing home.”
Parents and grandchildren need to realize that Alzheimer’s is a part of some people’s lives, just as various illnesses and disabilities are. Do you want your children to forget their grandparents as they become less able to take an active part in their lives, have an illness or look and act older? Generally you don’t. But many people want to protect children from Alzheimer’s.
My grandchildren enjoyed visiting my mom, their great grandmother. Even though she didn’t recognize them as family members, as she eventually didn’t recognize me, she seemed to enjoy their visits. The young children looked forward to visits wih Great Grandma and the nursing home where they entertained her and other patients.
My granddaughter, about 8-years at the time, was asked why she visited Great Grandma when GG didn’t know who Kara was. “Because it makes her happy,” Kara replied.
I then knew we were doing the right thing by enabling the children to visit their great grandmother.
What about you? Are you preparing your children and grandchildren to accept their Alzheimer’s family members and help make the elderly happy?