Two things are certain when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease. First, no two patients are alike. Your mom or dad may progress faster than expected. Second, it is a progressive disease. At some point, additional senior care services are necessary.
If you decide to offer the care your mom or dad needs on your own, there are four steps you should take. These can help assure your parent gets the best Alzheimer’s care possible.
Make Meals a Family Event.
Alzheimer’s can be lonely and frightening. There will be times when your mom or dad knows that the memory lapses are present. People in the earlier stages of Alzheimer’s know there is no cure.
Socialization is one time when you can all forget about the disease for a little while. Ask your parent for menu ideas, but try not to do it too far in advance. Your parent is unlikely to remember what he or she requested for dinner. Stick to family recipes that get your parent reminiscing.
Gather as many family members as possible for meals. Help each other cook so that everyone gets time with mom or dad. With people to talk to, your parent is going to benefit during this social activity.
Remember That Patience is Vital.
Your parent will reach a point where the same question gets asked every few minutes. Your mom may read the paper and act with shock at a story that has already shocked her. You have to be patient. Don’t correct her or say she’s already said that. Try directing her to a new activity as a distraction.
You’ll also need patience when heading out to an appointment. You may find your dad has forgotten where he put his wallet. You finally find that in the freezer and discover he’s lost a sneaker. It’s often similar to parenting a young child. You just have to learn to breathe and avoid griping or criticizing.
Plan for the Unexpected.
You don’t know how each day will go. Your mom may forget who you are one minute and be extra clingy the next. You may take your mom shopping and find that she doesn’t recognize her home and refuses to go inside.
Your dad may not be sleepy at 2 a.m. and want to go outside for a walk. He might lose his inhibitions and start wandering the neighborhood without clothes. People have experienced these situations and were not prepared. Consider them in advance and talk to a memory care doctor about the best response.
Discuss Respite Care With an Agency.
Talk to everyone in the family about schedules. Get others to help give you breaks. Don’t try to do this alone. You’ll burn out and become stressed. Respite care is essential.