Take it one day at a time. Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be rewarding and challenging. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for managing the disease, there are some things that you can do to make your loved one’s life easier. Here are six tips to help improve daily life for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
1. Establish a Routine
One of the most important things you can do for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is to establish a daily routine. Setting up bathing, eating, and taking medication can help your loved one feel more comfortable and less anxious. When possible, try to stick to the same schedule each day. Here are some tips for creating a routine:
- Keep a calendar or whiteboard with the day’s activities.
- Set alarms on your phone to remind you when it’s time for each activity.
- Write down step-by-step instructions for each activity.
2. Simplify Choices
Too many choices can be overwhelming for someone with Alzheimer’s. Where possible, simplify choices by offering two options instead of several. For example, when getting dressed in the morning, lay out two outfits for your loved one to choose from instead of letting them pick through their entire wardrobe.
You can also simplify choices by using visual cues. For example, put a picture of a toothbrush next to the sink to remind your loved ones to brush their teeth. Not only will this make tasks easier, but it can also help your loved ones feel more in control.
3. Create a Safe Space
As Alzheimer’s progresses, your loved one may wander off or become agitated. It is important to create a safe space for them to stay in. child-proof your home and remove any potential hazards, such as knives, medications, and cleaning products. You should also keep a list of emergency contact numbers handy in case your loved one gets lost.
If you think your home isn’t safe enough, you may want to consider a residential care home. These homes are specifically designed for people with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive impairments. The professionals who work there can help keep your loved ones safe and provide them with the care they need.
4. Provide Distractions
If your loved one is feeling agitated or restless, try to provide a distraction such as music or conversation. You might also want to try engaging in an activity such as reading or playing cards together. Here are some other ideas for distractions:
- Watching television
- Listening to an audiobook
- Looking at family photo albums
- Taking a walk outdoors
5. Avoid Arguments and Take Breaks Frequently
Arguing with a loved one with Alzheimer’s will only frustrate and upset both of you. If you find yourself in an argument, calmly explain your position and then change the subject. It is also important to take breaks often. Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be emotionally and physically draining. Make sure to take time for yourself every day to recharge.
To avoid burnout, it’s important to build a support network of family and friends who can help with caregiving duties. You can also join a support group for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s. These groups provide an opportunity to vent frustrations, share tips, and connect with others who understand what you’re going through.
6. Take Care of Yourself
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be a full-time job. It is important to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally. Make sure to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. You should also make time for activities you enjoy and feel good about.
Self-care is especially important when you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed. When you’re at your breaking point, it can be difficult to care for your loved one. Take a break when you need to, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from family and friends.
Bonus Tip: Have Realistic Expectations
It is important to have realistic expectations when caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. The disease will progress over time, and your loved ones will slowly lose the ability to communicate and take care of themselves. Try to focus on the present and cherish the time you have together.
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s requires patience and understanding. By following these tips, you can make daily life easier for both you and your loved one. Remember to take breaks when needed and seek out support from others when necessary. Take it one day at a time; sooner or later, you will find a routine that works for both of you.