When a family member is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, the news can be overwhelming. There are so many emotions that arise and difficult decisions to make. For families who choose to care for their loved ones at home, it can be an incredibly daunting task. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia presents challenges that other caregivers may not experience. Here, we look at some of the unique difficulties of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia in the home.
The ever-changing nature of the disease can make providing care very challenging. The progression of Alzheimer’s and dementia can happen quickly and can manifest itself in different ways over time. This means that caregivers must be prepared to adjust their approach as behaviours change while also being sensitive to any fluctuating emotions and needs of their loved ones. Caregivers need to have access to resources such as support groups where they can talk about the challenges they face and receive advice from those who have been through similar experiences.
Providing 24-hour care is often exhausting for family members who provide in-home care for their loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia. The physical demands of caring for someone who requires assistance with activities such as bathing, dressing and eating can be taxing on even the most resilient caregiver’s body and mind. It is important that caregivers take breaks when they need them and reach out to other members of the family or trusted friends if additional help is needed.
Maintaining a safe environment is another challenge faced by caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s or dementia at home; it is easy for things to slip through the cracks when you are dealing with an unpredictable disease like this one. Caregivers should take extra precautions such as locking up medications, removing weapons from the house, ensuring safety measures such as grab bars in bathrooms, using door alarms, etc., which all work together toward keeping your loved one safe at home.
Meaningful memory-care activities are of the utmost importance to those living with dementia. Dementia can cause people to withdraw from activities and enjoyable interactions with family and friends so it’s essential to try and maintain those relationships and interests to help people with dementia lead a better and more enjoyable quality of life. The person with dementia must be stimulated with appropriate dementia care therapies, outings and creative endeavours, as these can assist in preventing them from becoming frustrated, lonely and depressed. It can furthermore assist in supporting the individual’s memory, keep them engaged within the family and community for as long as possible, and meaningfully improve their quality of life.
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia at home can be rewarding and difficult all at once, but it isn’t your only option. Reaching out to the Livewell team for professional advice from doctors on how best to manage the situation of your loved one based on their individual needs. By taking these steps together, families will be better equipped to provide quality care while still maintaining their mental health during this challenging process.