Taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be emotionally and physically taxing. It’s hard to see someone you care about change in so many ways. And it can be physically exhausting for you, especially if you are the primary caregiver. Here are 6 tips to help you care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
1. Educate Yourself
Hearing that a loved one has Alzheimer’s can be devastating. To better cope with the diagnosis, it’s important you understand the disease and disease process. Educate yourself: Research Alzheimer’s online, talk to your loved one’s doctor and reach out to organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association for help and support.
2. Keep Your Home Safe
When caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you need to take certain precautions at home to keep them safe. Here are some tips:
- Secure all locks so that they can’t wonder outside and get lost
- Put child-proof latches on cabinets and doors
- Properly store and label medications and keep them hidden
- To prevent trips and falls, remove all clutter on the floors, secure rugs and keep your home well lit.
3. Communicate With Kindness
Remember, as the disease progresses, your loved one may lose his or her train of thought, make up new words to describe what they are thinking and repeat questions over and over. While this can be aggravating, try to be patient with your loved one.
- Offer reassurance: It’s easy to get frustrated when you have trouble communicating. But this can make things worse. Tell your loved one that it’s okay, and keep working through the conversation to get to the bottom of what they are trying to say.
- Don’t criticize or debate: Instead of questioning their message, listen and try your best to understand. You may be able to guess words or phrases they are having a hard time remembering and help them complete their thought.
- Make sure it’s quiet: Distracting noises can lead to even more confusion. Be sure the area is free of loud music or television shows.