Family caregivers face many challenges, but Alzheimer’s often leads to some of the biggest frustrations. As memory declines and your parent forgets you, you have to balance the hurt you feel with the reminder that it’s the disease.
Be the best caregiver you can by making sure you use this list of things you should and shouldn’t do as guidance.
Don’t Criticize or Scold
Never scold your parent for forgetting something. If your dad has already told you the news, don’t criticize him for repeating it. If your mom just ate breakfast and is asking when she’ll have another meal, don’t scold her. Offer a light snack and say you’re working on breakfast.
Do Meet Your Parent in His/Her Moment
Your dad is fixated on needing the jean jacket he wore in the 1970s. He can’t find it and is becoming increasingly upset. Instead of trying to tell him it’s the 2010s, meet him in the 1970s. Ask him what music he liked or what his favorite shows were.
You can use that information to find music or reruns from that era. That should distract him help you redirect his agitation to positive memories.
Your mom can’t remember you’re her child and not her sibling. Don’t correct her. Go with it. If you try to correct her, she may become upset.
Do Learn to Distract and Redirect
Agitation and anger will appear from time to time. You may not see it about to happen. If it does, try to distract with something you know your parent does. If the distraction works, redirect by moving to another room with that distraction and start a new activity.
Try to figure out what triggered the agitation. If you can, you can avoid it. You’ll also learn what distractions work best and use those techniques to redirect in the future.
If your parent doesn’t want to eat a meal right now, don’t force it. You may have better luck waiting 15 to 30 minutes and trying again with something different. If toast was the refused item, try a fruit smoothie instead.
Do Offer Unconditional Love
No matter what your mom or dad’s mood is, make sure you offer unconditional love. Taking hold of your parent’s hand or giving a hug can help stop agitation or simply offer comfort. Say “I love you” even if you’re not sure your parent is listening.
Don’t Try to Go It Alone
You can’t do it all by yourself. You may think you can, but you’ll burnout. Depression, anxiety, and anger are all things family caregivers experience. It’s okay if you feel that way.
Avoid burning out by arranging to have others helping you. If you need to take a long weekend away, do so. Caregivers from a home care agency can step in and care for your mom or dad while you’re away. Call and ask about respite care services.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care in Naples, FL, call the caring staff at Dial-a-Nurse today. Naples: (239) 307-0033. Ft. Myers: (239) 307-0065.
In 1995 he became Administrator of Dial-a-Nurse nursing agency, the oldest nursing agency in the Southwest Florida succeeding his mother who started the company 37 years ago. He is also President of Nevco, Inc., an educational healthcare training company begun in 1988.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce on various Missions to improve the quality of life around the world by development of supportive healthcare programs. In 2005 he traveled with U.S. officials and addressed the Italian National Government assisting in the creation of Nurse Education mandates for that Country. In 2006 he was invited and spoke with the National Institutes of Continuing Education in Eastern Europe on healthcare education and developmental mandates, and most recently represented the United States at the European Union in Lake Balaton, Hungary in 2011. In 2014 he traveled with the U.S. Department of State to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in an effort to improve caregiver knowledge and training.
Mr. Wolfendale has worked with a number of non-profits in contributing and creating curriculum to improve the quality of life in third-world countries since 2001, and notably created a successful program in Odessa, India that has been modeled in other areas of the world. In his backyard, he has worked with local Goodwill Industries to provide curriculum and training to underserved individuals who have obtained employment as a result of educational training. He was the Congressional appointment to the Governor's purple ribbon task force in 2013, and has worked to educate caregivers in all aspects of Alzheimer's training.
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