Being a caregiver…any type of caregiver…can be challenging and often stressful. However, caring for an Alzheimer’s patient can be especially so. It’s usually something we’re not prepared for and certainly not what we expected as a son or daughter or spouse. Unless we’ve had training in that field (it could be our profession), the day-to-day responsibilities can be overwhelming.
Nowadays, there are more support groups and more information available than when I cared for Mother and Auntie. I grew up with grandparents living in our home, but they did not have Alzheimer’s. This disease wasn’t researched nor mentioned so much in the 1990s, when these ladies required my care.
- Find someone who will help relieve you of your duties, who might come in and spend an afternoon with the patient. Perhaps this will be a family member. My neighbor used to help me with my mom because she had experience caring for her aunt.
- Find support groups. There are more and more cropping up connected with nursing homes, hospitals and senior centers.
- Look for online information and support.
- Learn all you can about Alzheimer’s so you can better understand your family member with this illness.
- Learn to appreciate this person at this stage in their life. It’s not something they can prevent so “go with the flow” and bring them joy in their Alzheimer’s world.