As with any other progressing disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s patients will necessitate constant care and supervision.
Even so, caring for a dementia patient can often be difficult and even stressful for caregivers. Here are some tips and things to remember when taking care of dementia patients.
1. Caring for a dementia or Alzheimer’s patient is different. Your role as a caregiver is going to be different, and more trying, than when caring for patients with other chronic diseases. Often caregivers are asked to care for patients who are in the mid or later stages of dementia, and will continue to get worse. Additionally, because dementia and Alzheimer’s disease will often require caregivers to provide assistance for longer periods of time, perhaps even until the patient passes away, the role of the caregiver is significantly transformed.
2. Understand the disease and how it affects your patient. Alzheimer’s and dementia affect each patient differently therefore it is important to understand the way in which your particular senior is reacting to the disease. Often dementia patients will undergo a change in personality, increased agitation, and even anger. If a caregiver is unaware that these can be symptoms of dementia progressing, they can often misinterpret these emotions leading to increased stress in their job.
3. Knowing your responsibilities as a long-term caregiver. As you continue to care for your patient, their family may come to incorporate you into their family. Be aware that this means more than a Christmas bonus and invitations to family events. Depending on the progression of the disease, your particular dementia patient may require round the clock care. This may increase your responsibilities as a caregiver to also include chaperoning to doctor appointments or helping with various family errands. Just remember that your main role is to care for your dementia patient, and not become the family personal assistant.
4. Have a sense of humor. As the disease continues to progress, your patient will begin to forget simple things, such as putting on pants. Additionally, incontinence and increased loss of control are a part of the progression of the disease. Approach everything with a sense of humor, and don’t get too upset. Not only will a negative attitude make your life harder, so with a positive attitude you can tackle any mishap that may happen.
With enough patience and a good attitude caring for a dementia patient can be easy. By knowing your role as a caregiver, taking good care of yourself as well as your patient, and always being prepared, you will be able to minimize stress.
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