It is hard for anyone to watch someone that you love deteriorate from the Disease of Alzheimer's.
The once vivacious individual that you always knew is still there-somewhere. The problem is that it may only be for a fleeting moment at eventually not at all.
Is it hard for them as well?
Do they fully understand what is happening?
Some doctors say that they have a hard time coping and that they understand that things will only get worse and others have the opposite opinion, so I guess that we will never really know for sure. The one that suffers the most is the caregiver, family member and friend; it is not easy to watch how this once wonderful coherent person has become lost.
We find brochures, information and pamphlets on the subject to help us along and it is a comfort to know that we are not alone. There are support groups, both locally and on the internet that give us the boost that we need to go on, which is a comfort.
Frustration, anger, impatience and exhaustion all take over at times and then we feel guilty.
This my friend is called 'over work'. You need a break and fast!
Whether that break is just a little trip to a local restaurant to give you time to relax, a trip to the beauty shop or maybe just a long hot bath without feeling guilty; you NEED this and deserve it. Get rid of the guilt and consider it part of your therapy for life and wellness.
If it means having someone come in and help for that short amount of time, so be it, maybe you can get the help of a neighbor, family member, home care group, office on aging or a Alzheimer's Support Group. I hope that this way it won't cost you anything and you can take advantage of it more often.
Keep in mind that your local Vocational School also has students that are going to school to become CNA's, nurses, day care providers and teachers and welcome the chance for hands-on experiences; you may also get help here.
There are 10 Warning signs of dementia, according to Jacqueline Marcell the author of the book 'Elder Rage, or Take My Father... Please!', 'How to Survive Caring For Aging Parents', and an outspoken advocate for Alzheimer's disease education and awareness.
Recent memory loss that affects job skills
Difficulty performing familiar tasks
Problems with language
Disorientation of time and place
Poor or decreased judgment
Problems with abstract thinking
Changes in mood or behavior
Changes in personality
Loss of initiative
Statistics say that about 75% of Alzheimer's patients are being taken care of at home, but is the family really ready to take on such a huge job?
The most important ingredient is 'education'; keep yourself well informed of what it is that will take place and don't feel guilty if you find that you can’t handle the situation.
It would make more sense to make sure that our loved one has the care they need and deserve than to cause them more traumas in their lives. It isn't that you are 'putting them away' it is that you are caring enough to make sure that they are safe and have the BEST care.
Tips that can help the caregiver and the patient survive without frustration;
1. Try to simplify things for them. The disease progresses
and so the amount of concentration diminishes. This makes
it hard for them to cope with so the frustration slips in,
they get upset, you get upset and it makes things worse for
2. Give them a feeling that they are still of use for as long
as possible. Let them dust the furniture, no it might not
be the best, but is that the purpose? No, it is to make
them have a feeling of purpose and usefulness. It isn't
any different than when a child wants to 'help', it is
usually more of a mess than if you didn’t do it at all,
but it is a way of teaching the child for their well-
being. Here you are giving the patent a feeling of
accomplishment and self-worth; for their well-being.
3. If they can still get dressed by themselves, let them,
when it comes to the closing buttons and zippers, tell
them that you want to feel like you are doing something
for them, like they have always done for you, so to
'let you help them now’. The glow in their eyes will be
worth it, it is filled with love, appreciation,
acknowledgment and pride.
4. Keep other people informed of the progress of the patient
and make their visits a good experience for both of them.
People tend to draw back from visiting because they
don't know what to say to the person, how the patient or
for that matter how they will react if something is
misunderstood and if the patient will recognize them.
Put people at ease by explaining how the patient will
react and that it is important for their minds to remain
active. In addition, it will give you outside contact
that will help your mental outlook as well.
5. As gifts for yourself, whether it be for Christmas or
your birthday, ask for gift certificates for things you
may not want to spend the money for. A meal out, a trip
to the beauty shop, a certificate to go to the movies,
an hour's worth of time to stay with the patient to give
you a break are all things that you will cherish on those
6. Let the sunshine in the windows and it will give both of
you a better outlook. Nothing is worse than to be tired
and worn out and then has the house look gloomy too. Hang
some plants to give color, put sheer curtains on the
windows to lighten the room, a fresh coat of paint on
the walls and maybe some pillows with bright or pastel
colors will help to brighten every ones outlook.
7. Confrontations occur on a daily basis because the
patient doesn't like change in routine or what they
believe to be a routine. Rather than to say, "Well,
we are doing it this way now" or "Let's just get this done"
it is better for both of you if you have a plan.
Get a notebook and label each page with something that
you do on a regular basis such as, Take a Bath, then
number it and write down the steps that are taken when it
is time for a bath.
1) get clean clothes ready,
2) run water in the tub or shower,
3) getting shaving things ready,
4) get pretty smelling powder ready or after shave etc.
This way the routine is set, they can see it is something that will not change. If something needs to be changed, show them the list and tell them, you need to add or subtract something, where would they like to see it change.
This way it becomes their decision too and a lot less stressful on you.
8. Rest; make sure that you get plenty of rest! Care giving is
a frustrating, mental and physical energy drainer not to
slight the amount of organization that it takes to have
everything run smoothly.
If you aren't well rested, your body will eventually want
to shut down. It will tell you that it has had enough, make
every frustrating thing seem like it is 10 times worse and
it will get sick; the last thing that anyone wants to happen.
Make sure that you take care of your body and it will take care of you!
9. Make a couple of different photo albums, small ones that
only hold a few pictures.
This could be, Grandkids, Children, A Favorite Trip, Sisters
Brothers,etc. Then label all of the pictures with the
persons name and what relationship they are. The patient
will use this as a guide when they ‘need to remember' and
you can use it as a guide to help them remember people
and places or before a visitor comes over. Plus, it is
something that you can do together to pass the time and
relive memories (for both of you) of days gone by.
10. Label items in a room so they can remember the names
of things. A lamp, shoes,Closet, slippers this way when
you say to put on your shoes, they will know where to
look for them. Keep everything in the same place so they
get used to walking right to the item.
Rearranging a room has become a thing of the past
because the Alzeheimer's patient has to live mostly by
repetition so they don't get confused.
However, if they know that they are helping you
'organize' things, they are willing to go along
I commend you for what you are doing and I know it isn"t
easy, but you are making someone's life better because of your caring, thoughtfulness and love. No higher praise can be awarded anyone, God Bless you.
Jan Hayner is the creator of Easy Home Organizing at http://www.organizingandcleaning.com
Get her free pamphlets “50 Things To Organize in 10 Minutes” and “Guiltbusters for Working Moms”. Free printables, checklists, Newsletter.