Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that damages memory and thinking skills. It is the most common type of dementia, which affected five million Americans so far. With the prevalence of Alzheimer’s increasing, many people wonder: How can I better care for people living with Alzheimer’s?
The future is coming, and it will be difficult for those living with Alzheimer’s. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can do many things today that will make your loved one’s life better and easier for them going forward. Here are some steps that Memory Care takes to care for people living with Alzheimer’s disease:
Some people with dementia may not recognize you but still, need your attention and care. Show them love and support daily by being there for them, being honest with them, and listening to their concerns.
You may need to do something that you normally avoid like going to a doctor’s appointment with them, and make sure they are comfortable and safe.
It doesn’t mean you have to sit on their lap or hold their hand every second, but being attentive will help them feel like someone cares about them and wants them to feel good.
Ask your loved one open-ended questions about their day, including what was going through their mind as you interacted. You may get surprised that your loved one isn’t always thinking about you.
Ask about any concerns your loved one has had or will have in the future, such as safety and finances. If they don’t want to talk about these issues, let them know that it’s okay not to want to talk about them right now — but that you will still be present for them when they want to talk.
Dementia progresses at different rates for each person, so don’t rush into doing things that may put more stress on your loved one or make them feel anxious or uncomfortable.
If your loved one is having difficulty remembering something, don’t push them to answer immediately; give them time so they can think about it without feeling rushed or embarrassed. Remember that some things could be easier said than done!
Keeping them Safe and Comfortable
While it may seem obvious, it is easy to forget that people with Alzheimer’s need the same things as everyone else — to feel safe and secure.
If they have an accident, you need to be nearby to help them get back on their feet; if they fall asleep in the middle of a conversation, you will want to sit until they are ready to resume it.
As with any illness, Memory Care approaches caring for someone with Alzheimer’s with patience and remember that their behavior sometimes may be unpredictable.
Their caretakers and loved ones need to be understanding and adaptable to the changes in their condition, no matter how hard they may be. And like most things in life, the best caregiver is one who understands and cares deeply for their charge.