The process of providing care for a person who has Alzheimer’s disease or any kind of dementia may be an arduous one that is also fraught with stress and filled with powerful emotions. But you’re not alone. There are more than 16 million individuals who provide care for a person with dementia in the United States alone, and there are many more millions of people providing care for persons with dementia across the globe. Because there is currently no treatment or cure for Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, the best contribution you can make to improve the quality of life of a loved one who is afflicted with either condition is to provide them with care and emotional support. That is an incredible gesture on their part.

On the other hand, providing care has the potential to consume one’s whole life. It is easy to feel overburdened, lose hope, and ignore your own health and well-being when the cognitive, physical, and functional capacities of the person you care for steadily decline over time. The responsibility of providing care may place you at an elevated risk for serious health issues, and many people who provide care for dementia suffer from despair, high levels of stress, or even burnout as a result of their work. In addition, virtually all people who care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may, at some point, feel a range of negative emotions, including depression, worry, loneliness, and weariness. It is not a luxury to look for assistance and support along the path; rather, doing so is an absolute must.

It is possible for the experience of providing care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia to vary greatly from one individual to the next, just as the progression of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may vary greatly from patient to patient. However, there are ways that may assist you as a caregiver, and these tactics can help make your path of providing care for another person as gratifying as it is difficult.

Who is a Caregiver?

Anyone who provides care for another person is considered to be a caregiver, which is another term for caretaker in various contexts. There are already millions of individuals in the world who are providing care for a friend or family member who has Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia-related condition. Sometimes carers live with the person they are caring for or in the immediate vicinity, while other times they reside a considerable distance away. In many households, providing care for a family member or other loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease or another kind of dementia is not the responsibility of just one individual but rather of a group of individuals who work together and divide up the many chores and obligations. It doesn’t matter what sort of carer you are; providing care for another person might at times leave you feeling completely overwhelmed.

How to communicate with such patients?

People who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia sometimes have problems remembering things, which may make it difficult for them to communicate. In addition to this, they are prone to being nervous and worried, and even aggressive. When a person has some types of dementia, their language skills might become impaired to the point that they struggle to find the correct words or find it difficult to express themselves verbally. It is essential that you comprehend that the sickness is the root cause of the shift in communication abilities; despite the fact that you can feel irritated or frustrated as a result, it is essential that you do so.

Give the person you care about some space and time if, for example, they have trouble remembering a term. The more agitated or impatient you get, the more difficult it will be to remember them. If the individual is unable to provide the term, kindly inform them that you will get back to them later.

Your loved one reacts to your tone of voice, facial expression, and other nonverbal clues just as much as they do to the words that you choose to say. Maintain eye contact, maintain cool, and adopt a posture that is open and relaxed.

Allow one instruction or question at a time, use brief words, and give your loved one more time to comprehend what is being said. Give one direction or question at a time. If what you said the first time wasn’t clear, look for a less complicated approach to express the same idea.

Refrain from asking questions that test your ability to recall recent events, such as “Do you remember what we did last night?” The most probable response will be “no,” which may be quite embarrassing for a person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Be respectful at all times. Don’t use condescending words or sarcasm. It has the potential to be painful or confusing.

If you feel like your fuse is about to blow, get away from the situation for a few minutes. You might try employing some rapid stress relief in order to calm down and get your equilibrium back.

How to take care at home?

You may take measures to make your house a more secure environment for a person who has Alzheimer’s disease or another kind of dementia that is connected to it if you are their primary carer or a family member. It may be possible to allow the individual greater freedom to move about freely and securely by removing risks from the house and introducing safety measures. Take a look at these helpful hints:

If your home has steps, check that each one is equipped with at least one railing. Install carpeting or safety grip strips on the stairs, or mark the edges of the steps with brightly coloured tape, in order to make them more apparent.

Install safety plugs into any unused electrical outlets, and give some thought to installing safety latches on cabinet doors.

Remove any goods that are no longer needed, as well as any tiny rugs, electrical wires, or other anything that a person may trip over.

Ensure that there is sufficient illumination in all of the locations, both inside and outside, that the individual will be visiting.

Take down any drapes or carpets that have busy patterns that the individual may find confusing and put away.

Put away or secure all cleaning and household supplies, such as paint thinner and matches, and take them out of the home.

Make yourself a priority too

Being a caretaker may be tremendously fulfilling at times, but it also has the potential to be exhausting at other times. It takes a lot of time and effort to properly care for a person who has Alzheimer’s disease or another kind of dementia. It has the potential to be isolating and frustrating. You may even experience anger, which is a potential indicator that you are attempting to take on too much. It is essential to make time in your schedule to look for oneself.

Share your feelings with someone you trust, such as a friend, family member, or therapist. Speaking with a sympathetic person face to face may be very therapeutic and relieving of tension.

Doing exercise out on a regular basis not only helps you maintain your physical health, but it also helps elevate your mood. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise daily, minimum. If you can’t find a block of time that lengthy, try setting aside 10 minutes at a time during the day.

Providing care for an elderly loved one with dementia may be a very demanding and emotionally taxing experience. One way to deal with stress and improve one’s state of mind and energy is to engage the body’s relaxation response. Try deep breathing, meditation, or yoga in addition to physical activity and in-person social interaction.