A Caregiver’s Guide to Coping with Early Stage Dementia
When you suddenly find yourself in the role of primary caregiver for a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, you may feel overwhelmed and beset with a wide array of emotions — sadness, anxiety, hopelessness and even anger are common. Take heart in knowing that these feeling are considered normal and you are not alone. Today, more and more families just like yours are facing this situation as increasing numbers of older Americans are living longer than ever before.
The good news is there are many things you can do to cope. Learning and applying effective coping techniques are extremely important. They will help you maintain your physical and emotional well-being while also enabling you to provide better care and support for your loved one.
Keys to Successful Coping
- Set Realistic Goals and Expectations – You’re only human. Decide what you can and cannot do and set practical priorities.
- Become Knowledgeable About the Disease – The more you understand about this progressive illness, the more prepared and comfortable you’ll be to handle future challenges.
- Ask for Help! – You can’t do it all yourself, and no one expects you to. Ask friends and family for help and be specific in what you ask them to do.
- Take Care of Yourself – Schedule “Me Time” for yourself and make your own health a top priority. Staying healthy improves your outlook and your ability to cope and care for your loved one.
- Use “Reminisce Therapy” – Talking about past events, old friends and fond memories is an important way to keep your loved one pleasantly engaged. It is also a best-practice therapy used by leading memory care communities such as North Woods Village.
- Exercise – Both of You! – It’s a good way for caregivers to reduce physical and emotional stress. Also, recent university research has shown that exercise can reduce and delay symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
- Enjoy the Time Together – Continue to do the things your loved enjoys. Familiar activities are usually pleasurable to someone with Alzheimer’s.
- Communicate Simply and Carefully – Reduce distractions and be as clear and concise in your communications as possible.
For more information on how North Woods Village can help you and your loved one cope with early state dementia, contact us today!