Caring for a Loved One: Tips for Supporting a Parent with Alzheimer’s

Caring for a Loved One: Tips for Supporting a Parent with Alzheimer's

Caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s presents a profound journey, one filled with a myriad of emotions ranging from love and empathy to moments of helplessness, frustration, and solitude. This journey often requires children to transition into roles of caregivers, partners in care, and advocates, inevitably reversing the parent-child dynamic. Whether you’re navigating the initial stages of diagnosis or have been accompanying your parent through the progression of the disease, you may seek guidance on how to provide the best support possible. Here, we provide a comprehensive set of tips for supporting a parent with Alzheimer’s aimed at enriching both your parent’s care journey and supporting you as their caregiver/partner-in-care/advocate.

Stay Up to Date with Your Parent’s Needs

Staying updated on your parent’s needs is crucial when caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, as these needs can evolve continuously. Whether they require around-the-clock personal care, regular check-ins, home modifications, specific medications, or simply someone to talk to, being informed is essential. You can achieve this by regularly communicating with your loved one about their needs if they can articulate them, or by discussing with their doctors and other caregivers whenever possible. Obtaining Power of Attorney (POA) may be required  for engaging in discussions with medical professionals regarding their care, and seeking legal advice from an Elder Care Attorney is recommended for this process. It’s worth noting that many individuals with Alzheimer’s may not be aware of their condition, making communication about their needs challenging. However, staying up to date with their requirements ensures you have the necessary information to provide effective care and support.

Research Necessary Adaptations

As Alzheimer’s progresses, individuals often face challenges in managing household tasks independently, which can be both frustrating and potentially hazardous. To support your parent in maintaining their independence as much as possible, it’s essential to adapt the home environment for safety and ease of use. This may involve removing interior locks to prevent accidental confinement, installing handrails or a shower stool in the bathroom, incorporating home cameras for added security, acquiring a Life Alert or similar system for emergency assistance, and ensuring potentially hazardous appliances like stoves are unplugged when not in use. As connectivity becomes increasingly vital, especially as the disease advances and smartphone operation becomes difficult, Adaptive Phones offer a solution by allowing contact numbers to be saved with corresponding photos, simplifying the dialing process and facilitating communication with loved ones. However, it’s crucial to remain vigilant against fraudulent activity, as individuals with dementia are particularly vulnerable. Taking necessary precautions is essential to safeguard your loved one from potential exploitation.

Be Patient and Compassionate When Supporting A Parent With Alzheimer’s

The journey of caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s can be profoundly challenging, both for you and for them. In moments of frustration, sadness, or helplessness, it’s important to remind yourself that patience and compassion are invaluable tools. Meeting your parent where they are, understanding that their words and actions

Caring for a Loved One: Tips for Supporting a Parent with Alzheimer’s

may not align with the parent you once knew due to the progression of the disease, is crucial. Often, individuals with Alzheimer’s mirror the emotions of those around them, emphasizing the significance of approaching them with kindness and empathy.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Support

Supporting your loved one during this time can feel like a huge job, and that can get overwhelming very quickly. If you find yourself feeling overcome by your responsibilities, emotions, or thoughts of the future, building a support system to navigate the complex emotions that come with having a parent with Alzheimer’s is essential. Online support groups, such as those offered on Facebook or through the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 helpline, provide a vital lifeline for individuals in similar situations. Utilizing these resources can help alleviate feelings of isolation, especially when the desire to confide in the very parent affected by Alzheimer’s is not always feasible.

We understand that everyone’s experience with this disease is unique, whether it be the person who was diagnosed or the loved ones caring for them. Just as everyone’s experience is unique, so too should be their care program. At Delta Center, we are committed to supporting those with Alzheimer’s and the loved ones who care for them through a number of programs and resources. If you and a parent with Alzheimer’s want to take charge of their care, Consumer Directed Services are a great way to not only customize all the services your parent receives but also hire caregivers personally and make it possible for your parent to stay in their own home as long as possible if that is their wish. You yourself could even be officially hired as your parent’s caregiver through this program. Another option for in-home care is our Aging In Place Assessment program, which provides in-home assessments to determine your parent’s needs in a variety of categories. This can help you, as their caregiver, better understand your responsibilities and plan accordingly. Experiencing the effects of this disease can be difficult, but we are always here to help you and your loved one through this journey. For more information, visit the links above or navigate our main page here.