Finding out a loved one has Alzheimer’s can be scary and difficult to accept. Emotions including anger, guilt and grief are not uncommon. There are some basic tips to help those dealing with a diagnosis so they can get the information they need and develop a caregiving plan.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions
Talk to the doctor and ask questions like what to expect during each stage, if there are treatments that might help slow the disease or how to deal with everyday challenges or agitation.
It helps to write your questions down ahead of time in order of importance and take notes during the appointment. Consider recording the conversation to help you remember important points or bring another family member to the appointment for support or to ask questions if you find it to difficult.
Resources & Support
The Alzheimer’s Association, the Alzheimer’s Foundation and other resources offer families and caregivers a wealth of information. Topics including An Introduction to Caregiving and online message boards where you can connect with others in the same situation, ask questions, share your feelings or find local support groups.
Don’t be afraid to reach out. Staying connected can help alleviate feelings of being alone or overwhelmed that so many family members and caregivers face.
Even if you loved one was diagnosed very early it is important to have a plan for care. As the disease progresses the level of care needed will increase. Don’t wait to start organizing legal and financial documents, determine what services are covered by your health insurance and research at home care or long-term memory care facilities like The Memory Center.
Take Breaks & Take Care of Yourself
If you are the primary caregiver realize you can’t do everything all the time and will need breaks. Primary caregivers often feel guilty about leaving their loved one or asking for outside help from other family or respite care.But not taking care of yourself or getting run down will not help your loved one.
Caregiver burnout is real and can lead to additional health issues including anxiety. Make time to stay involved in activities you enjoy, connect with friends, family or support groups and stay active. Allowing yourself time away will make you a better caregiver.
Learn more about The Memory Center and the services we provide to those living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.