If your parent has just been diagnosed with Alzheimers, both of you may be wondering what lies ahead. You, as a family caregiver, will undoubtedly have questions about what your role as a caregiver will entail now and into the future. The good news is that a diagnosis of Alzheimers in its early stages gives you time to adapt and plan for the future. An early diagnosis also paves the way for the ability of your parents primary health care team to slow down the progression of this form of dementia.
Currently, your parent may not need very much assistance. They may still be able to drive as well as perform the daily activities of living. This gives you and your loved one a chance to develop a caregiving team so that you are both prepared when the time does come and they do require assistance.
A caregiving team consists of individuals (family, friends, neighbors, home care providers, and community members) that are able and willing to chip in and help support your parent when they need it. Let them know the diagnosis and start a list of those willing to be a part of the team. Caregiving team members do as much as care for an individual and all their needs for an entire day to providing transportation one day a week or helping out with the grocery shopping.
Determining When to Help
Youll want your parent to retain as much independence as possible while still keeping them safe. At the same time, if you find certain tasks or activities provoke unneeded stress and agitation for them, consider taking over these types of daily chores. They may have an increasingly difficult time when in public places. Running errands for them such as grocery shopping may ease their frustration significantly.
Instead of jumping in to rescue your parent when you see they are having difficulties, set up a prearranged cue that they can provide when they are getting frustrated and would like your help. This could be as simple as a shake of your head and a yes or no from them.
Keep communications open. As a caregiver, you may eventually find yourself so busy that your daily life looks like a to-do list. Make time for yourself and your parent. This includes spending time together enjoying various activities that will serve as great memories and spending time by yourself to recharge and regenerate.
Help your Parent Help Themselves
There are several lifestyle choices that have proven beneficial in slowing down the progression of this disease. This includes stopping smoking, scheduling exercise on a regular basis, eating a diet filled with fruits, vegetables, and fish and low in saturated fats, getting a good nights sleep, minimizing stress, and remaining social and engaged. Joining a support group for early-stage Alzheimersfor both caregivers and those that have the diseasecan be beneficial.
The good news is: the early-stage of Alzheimers can last for years. Take this time to really appreciate your loved one and create cherished memories.
If you or an aging family member are considering hiring a professional caregiver in Brookhaven, NY, please call the caring staff at A Gentle Touch Senior Home and Health Care at 631-647-7622 today.