A time to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia
Part 3 of 3
By Bernard Freeman
Living with Alzheimer’s
If you or a loved one find it difficult to complete daily tasks and are struggling to live with Alzheimer’s disease, then read these tips on daily life from the Alzheimer’s Association.
Accept the Changes
One of the hardest things for people with Alzheimer’s is to accept the reality of having the disease. For some, even coming to terms of accepting the symptoms will make it more real and painful for them. The Alzheimer’s Association says accepting your changes in abilities and adapting with new coping skills can help restore balance to your life and give you a sense of accomplishment as you continue to live with the disease. Developing coping strategies can help you remain engaged and active, respond to challenges that will help you maximize your independence, and maintain a sense of control over your life.
Create a Coping Strategy
You and your family may have already noticed changes in your ability to complete daily tasks. You don’t have to develop a complicated coping strategy to cope with Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association says you can simplify the process by focusing on these three steps.
- Make a list of tasks that have become more challenging: Focus on developing coping strategies for your more challenging tasks. If you are forgetting to do tasks such as taking medications, laundry or brushing your teeth in the morning, focus on setting a reminder for the medication.
- Determine if the task is necessary: Take a look at the tasks you are forgetting. What is more necessary to accomplish and how can someone help? Can you ask someone to set a reminder with you? Some bills have an option online where money can be automatically taken out of your account. Would that help you by having a few less bills to worry about paying for?
- Find the best solution for you: Make tasks work for you. Don’t stress yourself over accomplishing the tasks as if you were completely fine. Use automatic payments for bills that allow it and use a slow cooker if you are having trouble cooking. Make your tasks work for you, don’t work for your tasks.
Self-Care for Caretakers
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and related dementias provide care for a longer duration than caregivers of people with other types of conditions.
It can be easy to forget about yourself when you care for someone around the clock, but know that self-care isn’t selfish. There are options you can take to get help when you help others.
Think About Respite Care
People with Alzheimer’s disease usually require around-the-clock care and help with daily tasks, sanitary tasks and other help. Most of the people caring for them are family and close friends. Caring for someone can affect your mental and physical health, but there is help for you.
Respite care allows the caregiver to have some time off from caregiving. There are multiple types of services such as in home, adult day care and even short-term nursing home care. According to research done by the CDC, even a few hours of respite a week can improve caregiver’s well-being. Respite care can be provided by family, friends, a non-profit or a government agency. Some of these services may even be free or low-cost.
Reach Out for Help
If you are in search of some relief from your caregiving duties but don’t know where to go, look to family and friends to help you.
Identify a caregiving task or a certain time you would like help with. If there is an activity that you have been missing for caregiving duties, make your family or friends aware of this so that they can plan to provide you relief. Be understanding if you are turned down. People may not feel very comfortable having to care for someone in such a demanding way. Offer them more time to show them how you care for the person with Alzheimer’s. Don’t be afraid to ask again in the future.
Talk to your Doctor
Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any signs of anxiety or depression. How you are feeling can greatly affect the person you are caring for. You have special needs as a caregiver that your doctor should be aware of. Let your doctor know that you are looking to find respite care, they can point you in the right direction or get you in contact with a government agency or a non-profit that can help you.