While it is a difficult time for caregivers, we often lose sight of what living with Alzheimer’s must be like for the victim. Waking up every day in an unfamiliar place, having unfamiliar people guide you through each and every task at hand and constantly being corrected when our memories are not exactly accurate can make for a truly difficult passing of each day. It is easy for a caregiver to become impatient or frustrated, but with the following tips, we may be able to provide our suffering loved ones with the extra understanding, love and support they need to make their days a little easier.
- When your loved one doesn’t recognize you, do not let it affect you personally. This is much easier said than done, but you must remember that this is not a personal attack. Your loved one would not intentionally hurt your feelings. Try to step back from the situation, understanding this is most likely a temporary lapse in memory, and move on. Have a conversation about their favorite television program or prepare a meal without pointing out their failure. This will allow them time to recover and will prevent them from becoming upset over the situation.
- Preparing a favorite meal for your loved one is a great way to prod their memory of past experiences and take the pressure off them having to prepare it themselves. Many times, even with favorite meals, those who are suffering from Alzheimer’s are unable to remember the ingredients and steps for creating their favorite dishes. By preparing their meal, you will bring them comfort, and hopefully, conversation and good company to the table
- Be patient. Your loved one may experience hallucinations, recall things that are simply false or not remember you. They have NO CONTROL over this, so you have to control your emotions and remain calm. This brief lapse will eventually pass. Helping your loved one through this moment and helping him remain calm will keep the situation from escalating. Try to change the conversation, redirect attention to a TV program or tackle a simple task that needs to be accomplished.
- Remember your sense of humor. Sometimes, the best thing to do in a difficult situation is laugh. This will keep you from becoming too upset at the circumstances and will help you keep a positive mindset. It is extremely important for caregivers to have a positive attitude and frame of mind. If your loved one does something, like eats a frozen corn dog, that you would normally find disturbing, try to find the humor in the situation.
Being a caregiver is a strenuous task, but living with Alzheimer’s is also difficult. When providing care to your loved one, please remember to be patient, kind and understanding to help you both deal with this situation as smoothly as possible.