If you're reading this, it's likely that you or someone you love has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. While this news can be devastating, it's important to remember that you are not alone. There are millions of people across the globe who are currently living with Alzheimer's, and many more who are providing care for loved ones with the disease. In this blog post, we'll provide some tips for caregivers to help you navigate this new chapter in your life.
1. Accept the diagnosis.
This may be one of the most difficult things to do after an Alzheimer's diagnosis, but it is crucial in order to move forward. Denial will only make the situation more difficult for both you and your loved one. If you need help accepting the diagnosis, consider seeking out a support group or speaking to a counsellor. Remember, you are not alone in this.
2. Learn as much as you can about the disease.
The more you know about Alzheimer's, the better equipped you will be to deal with the challenges it presents. There are many excellent resources available online and through local organizations like the Alzheimer's Association. Take advantage of these resources so that you can be prepared for what lies ahead.
3. Prepare legal and financial plans.
Legal planning may involve Powers of Attorney for both finances and health care. This ensures that someone else can make decisions for your loved one when they are no longer able to do so. Financial planning can help to ensure that assets are protected and that your family is taken care of financially. Long-term care planning involves making decisions about where the person will live as the disease progresses and how care will be provided for. A Will, will make sure assets and final affairs are handled in accordance with your loved ones wishes. These can be difficult conversations to have, but they are important ones. Putting a plan in place early on can help to make things a little easier down the road.
4. Conduct a home safety assessment.
After an Alzheimer's diagnosis, it's important to take steps to ensure the safety of your loved one. This may include making changes to the home environment, such as removing hazards and installing safety features like handrails and grab bars. You may also need to provide close supervision and assistance with activities of daily living. In some cases, it may be necessary to move your loved one into a facility that can provide the level of care and support they require. Regardless of the approach you take, safety should be a top priority in your caregiving plan. By taking proactive measures, you can help your loved one live a safe and fulfilling life despite their diagnosis.
5. Put together a care team.
Caring for someone with Alzheimer's can be overwhelming, so it's important to build a supportive network of family and friends who can help with both practical tasks and emotional support. You should also consider enlisting the help of professional caregivers, such as a home health aide or registered nurse. This can give you some much-needed respite from your caregiving duties and ensure that your loved one is receiving high-quality care when you can't be there yourself.
6. Make sure your loved one is getting proper medical treatment.
Alzheimer's is a progressive disease, which means that it will continue to get worse over time. However, there are treatments available that can help slow down its progression and ease some of its symptoms. Work with your loved one's doctor to develop a treatment plan that meets their needs and includes both medical and non-medical interventions.
Caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease can be challenging, but it is also rewarding. By taking the time to learn about the disease and put together a supportive care team, you can make sure that your loved one receives the best possible care during this difficult time.
Ty Strahl is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) based in Spokane Washington. Her job is to help navigate the many aspects of aging and to help seniors who are in transition to find the right solutions for their individual needs.