If a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, it can be a devastating time for you, your loved one and your entire family. As a care provider, chances are you will also be in for a number of big changes and a number of big challenges during your loved one's battle with this disease. If you are new to the world of Alzheimer's caregiving, here are ten of the most important tips to remember that can help you as you start your journey.
1. Research and read as much as you can. The more you know about this condition and what it really entails, the better off you will be.
2. Prepare yourself for the reality of what you are up against. Talk to your doctors and get a real perspective of what you can expect as the disease progresses. The more prepared you are the better.
3. Accept help. Don't try to be a caregiver alone. So many caregivers sacrifice their own needs in order to care for someone else. Never try to handle this burden by yourself.
4. Consider medication management to help your loved one stay organized and to help keep their daily medical routine safe. You need to have as much information as possible on all of their medications and how they need to be taken before you can make a medication management plan.
5. Start managing your loved one's diet. The healthier an individual with Alzheimer's is, the better off they will be. This means eating a healthy diet. Make changes right away to include a diet that is filled with fruits, vegetables, proteins and plenty of water.
6. Help your loved one set and maintain a schedule. Having a schedule is one of the best things you can do for an individual with Alzheimer's. It helps them get into a natural routine, sleep better and avoid unnecessary confusion and frustration.
7. Plan activities that help your loved one feel included. It can be an overwhelming diagnosis when someone gets Alzheimer's disease. They shouldn't feel like their diagnosis means they can't continue to enjoy life. Make sure they have plenty of activities to do and that they feel included with friends and family.
8. Set your loved one up for success. Do what you can to help them remember things and to prevent them from getting frustrated. This may mean keeping your outings short, or it may mean labeling your cabinets. Either way, the more you can do help them succeed the better.
9. Help them stay active. Daily exercise is great for individuals who have Alzheimer's disease.
10. Stay positive. One of the best things you can do when caring for an individual with Alzheimer's is to stay positive. They may sometimes get confused about the message you are delivering, but individuals with Alzheimer's can still sense emotion. Getting frustrated with their condition or your situation will never make any situation better for either one of you.
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