Providing Alzheimer’s care for someone is an important job. It doesn’t matter whether you’re taking care of your ageing father, a grandparent, your mother, your spouse, a sibling, or even someone you never knew before you’d been hired to care for them. When it comes to dementia, proper care makes all the difference.
You’ll also discover that when you are providing high level of care for the individual diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, there will be some things that you learn along the way, things that you didn’t think of before. We’ll call them ‘truths’ because that will provide a foundation for you as you move forward with the high quality care that you offer.
Truth 1: Flexibility is essential.
You’re not always going to know what the person with Alzheimer’s wants or needs. You’re not always going to be able to stick to a schedule. If he or she is planning on attending an event, or wants to go to a friend’s house, you may be delayed due to any number of factors.
Be flexible. Plan early so that even if you are late, it’s not as late as it could have been.
Truth 2: Be empathetic.
Empathy is one of the foundational cornerstones of compassion. You need to, at one time or another, try to understand what the person with Alzheimer’s is dealing with, the fears that he or she has, and the confusion that they may experience.
When you can spread your empathy around, it can have a positive impact on the patient as well as the quality of care that he or she receives.
Truth 3: Understand that other people are going to offer their advice.
When it comes to any type of care, everyone has an opinion. Forget common phrases that help to dismiss those opinions, but don’t let them get to you. Only you and the person with Alzheimer’s truly know the best strategies; you will develop and refine them over time.
Listen to the advice of others, especially those who have experience caring for a person with Alzheimer’s, but temper that with your own direct experiences and the wishes of the person with Alzheimer’s.
Truth 4: Don’t get too personally involved.
For some people, it’s too easy to become emotionally involved in the welfare of someone they care for, especially when you work with them every day. However, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s and at some point the more serious symptoms may begin to show, including anger, frustration, outbursts, and memory loss.
Being too personally involved may lead to caregiver stress, pain and also to mistakes regarding the persons care.
Truth 5: Caring for yourself should never be a luxury.
Just because you’re providing valuable service for someone in need, that doesn’t mean you should neglect your own care. Always make time to tend to your own well being.
When you follow and believe in these truths, you’ll offer the highest quality Alzheimer’s care possible.
Find out more about how Alzheimers and other dementia here
Adapted from Alzheimer’s Expert, Carmen Davis