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Living with Alzheimer’s: 5 Things We Learned as Caregivers

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that affects millions of people around the world.

It can be a challenging journey for both the person living with Alzheimer’s and their loved ones, however, there are strategies that can help make the caregiving journey easy.

At Affinity Home Care Agency, our trained healthcare professionals deal with a wide range of caregiving challenges, including Alzheimer’s care.

We spoke to our caregiving champions to understand their experience and approach to effectively supporting an Alzheimer’s patient.

Here are five things that our carepros consider essential while helping clients with Alzheimer’s maintain a better quality of life.

  1. Create and Stick to a Routine

By establishing a routine, people with Alzheimer’s rely on familiar patterns and activities, which helps reduce anxiety and stress. A routine is especially important for people with Alzheimer’s who may struggle with memory loss and confusion.

Use a daily schedule or planner to help keep track of important events, appointments, and tasks. This can help them feel more in control and less overwhelmed by the demands of daily life.

  1. Stay Socially Connected

Social connections are crucial for individuals with Alzheimer’s. Emotional support and a sense of belonging can be gained through socializing.

People with Alzheimer’s can stay connected by spending time with family and friends, or joining a support group. For those who find it difficult to socialize in person, virtual options like video calls or online support groups can be helpful.

For instance, engaging in regular activities such as attending a social club or hobby group can help people with Alzheimer’s stay engaged and connected with others, thus improving their quality of life.

  1. Find Ways to Stay Active

Engaging in physical and mental activities can be beneficial for maintaining cognitive function and overall health, which is crucial for people with Alzheimer’s.

Some enjoyable ways to stay active include taking walks, doing puzzles, playing games, or participating in hobbies. It’s important to find activities that are not too challenging and to take breaks when needed.

For example, playing board games with loved ones can be a fun and stimulating activity. If they live alone, encourage them to do daily crossword puzzles to help keep the mind sharp.

  1. Be Patient and Supportive

Alzheimer’s can be a challenging journey, and supporting your loved one to practice self-compassion and self-care can help reduce their stress and anxiety around the condition.

As the disease progresses, certain tasks may become more difficult, such as managing finances or maintaining a schedule.

People with Alzheimer’s may try to cover up these difficulties, either to protect themselves or their loved ones from embarrassment or because they’re hesitant to ask for help.

However, trying to hide these changes can be a significant source of stress. Encourage them to vocalize their needs and limitations to you and their support network. Help them accept the changes in their abilities.

By focusing on what they can still do and finding new ways to adapt and cope, you can help your loved one maintain balance in their life and achieve a sense of accomplishment.

  1. Don’t Shy from Seeking External Support

If you are finding it difficult to manage your loved one’s daily schedule on your own, seeking outside help can be beneficial. This can include assistance with daily activities, medical care, or emotional support.

There are many resources available, including Alzheimer’s organizations, community programs, and healthcare professionals. Remember that seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a courageous step towards improving your own as well as your loved ones quality of life.

Living with Alzheimer’s can be challenging, but with the right strategies and support, it is possible to maintain a fulfilling life. Remember to take things one day at a time and to celebrate small victories along the way.

If you’re searching for in-home care for a loved one, don’t hesitate to contact us at 248-657-7674 or info@affinityseniorcare.com. We’re located in Michigan and provide comprehensive senior care services, including respite care, memory care, Assisted Daily Living Activities, and post-surgical recovery care.