You've known for quite some time that things just seemed a little bit different while visiting your loved one. At first you thought it was normal old-age memory loss and forgetfulness. Eventually you knew you were dealing with something much more serious. Getting the official diagnosis from the doctor that your family member is suffering from Alzheimer's is difficult and life changing. You want to be there for them and take care of them. However, trying to be a hero and managing the care of your loved one, without help, is not always possible.
Often when faced with the declining health of a loved one, it's natural to feel protective and want to take charge. You may feel determined to find a way to make it work. Alzheimer's can cause extreme personality changes, depression, delusions, and hallucinations as the disease advances. Trying to manage a loved one's care may be possible in the early stages, but increasingly difficult as the disease progresses. You must learn about the disease and know what to expect.
Enlist the help of others before you need it
Talk to other family members and have a plan in place. Knowing you have the details worked out ahead of time will give you peace of mind. Meet with nursing homes and assisted living facilities to discuss care options in the event you need them later. Consult with your doctor and other professionals who can give you guidance in what to expect and what symptoms to look for. Knowledge helps you feel in control and eliminates fear. Being prepared and knowing what to expect will go a long way toward giving your loved one the proper care and treatment they deserve.
Take care of yourself
Caregivers often neglect their own health when they become consumed with caring for someone else. This is another reason you must ask for others to help out. If you get tired and worn out, you'll find you have less patience and may become resentful. Your loved one may notice your irritability. They may feel like they are a burden to you if they sense you're struggling with anger. Schedule time off to refresh yourself. Enjoy a hobby, go out with friends, or take a nap.
Dealing with guilt
As Alzheimer's progresses, managing the care of a loved one can become impossible. When you feel you're no longer able to safely care for your family member at home, don't feel guilty about seeking care in a nursing home or assisted living facility. You will still be able to visit regularly and be there to offer your love and support. These facilities are more than adequately equipped to manage the care your loved one needs.
Alzheimer's disease is never the diagnosis you want to hear regarding a loved one. However, it's reassuring to know there are options available for care. Your family and friends may be willing to help out. Don't be afraid to ask. Get the facts about the disease from physicians and professionals. Take care of yourself so you will be a better caregiver. When the time comes to seek long-term care at a facility, don't feel guilty. You have done everything possible to make sure your loved one is properly cared for.
For more information, contact Crimson Ridge Meadows or a similar location.