Monday, January 5, 2015

3 Tips this January

Now that the holidays are over, life may begin to feel a little calmer. That’s not to say, however, that it will remain that way. Just as Alzheimer’s Disease continues to change as it progresses, so does one’s role as caregiver. Even if you’re not the primary caregiver for your loved one battling this disease, your relationship with Alzheimer’s is bound to continue shifting as well.

Here are three tips to help prepare you for whatever stage you’re experiencing right now or transitioning into:
1. Early-Stage Caregiving: In the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, you are more likely to fall into the role of “care partner” rather than that of “caregiver”. Remember that your loved one will primarily need love, support, and friendship at this point. Tap into the person's strengths and encourage him or her to continue living as independently as possible.

2. Middle-Stage Caregiving: As a caregiver to someone in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, you will need to educate yourself on what to expect in the coming months. Perhaps most importantly, develop some strategies to help you to cope in the particularly trying moments. For instance, you might consider joining a support group.

3. Late-Stage Caregiving: It is important to realize that, as the disease advances, intensive, around-the-clock care is usually required. Focus on preserving your loved one’s quality of life. This might mean playing his or her favorite music, looking at old photos, or preparing his or her favorite foods.

Although a person in the late stage of Alzheimer's typically loses the ability to talk and express needs, research tells us that some core of the person's self may remain. Remember that, as a caregiver, you are not alone. There is a strong community of people just like you ready to reach out and help!

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