How to Care For a Loved One With Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Alzheimer’s is a chronic, progressive brain disorder affecting nearly 5 million Americans. The disease causes memory loss and other cognitive problems and may lead to mood swings and behavioral changes. It’s the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As your loved one’s symptoms progress over time, it will become increasingly complex—and at times impossible—for them to live independently at home. At some point in this process, it might be necessary for you as a caregiver to step up your involvement by making more frequent trips home during the day, staying overnight with your loved one at least once per week until permanent arrangements are made (such as moving into an assisted living facility), or even making it possible for them to move permanently into your home where you can provide 24/7 care in their final years.
Learn as much as you can about the disease.
In an ideal world, you could take your loved one to a doctor and get answers to all the questions burning in your mind. But, unfortunately, this isn’t always possible. Some caregivers don’t want their loved ones to undergo invasive medical tests or treatments they feel won’t affect their symptoms. Others aren’t sure how much more advanced the disease has become since the last time they saw a doctor or if new treatment options are available.
To care for your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease as best you can; you need to be as informed about it as possible. This means learning about:
- The disease itself — how it progresses and where it starts.
- The various medications that can treat its symptoms (and what those medications do).
- What side effects may each medication cause (if any)
Plan for the future and get legal documents in order.
Plan for the future. As the disease progresses, a person with Alzheimer’s may be unable to handle legal or financial matters. If you have an adult child struggling with these issues and no one else to help them, it’s in your best interest to plan so that your loved one can continue living…