First, deep breathe and have faith that there is help for you while you are about to enter an unpredictable journey in your life.
I’m sure if someone you know how been diagnosed by Alzheimer’s there are a flood of emotions that you may be experiencing that range from denial, anger, doubt, scared to an overwhelming sadness.
The good news is that there are a tremendous amount of resources at your fingertips to assist you and your loved one but lets not get ahead of ourselves; baby steps.
Below are some tips that I Have found help families:
Get Informed: Knowledge is power and as hard as the truth may be the faster you can accept that your loved one has Alzheimer’s and truly understand what the disease and its progressions is, the better prepared you will be for the future. I am not suggesting the future will be fun, in fact it will be a roller coaster of emotions, but the more prepared you are the better. Take time to research the disease (I would suggest starting at your local Alzheimer’s Association (http://www.alz.org/) and attending their training program).
Talk to the Experts: If you are anything like me there is only so much reading I can do and my learning increase exponentially when I can have an interactive conversation with another person! Speak with local experts; perhaps your family member’s neurologist would be a good place to start. If you are able to attend the appointments, make sure you go to them prepared with questions, comments or concerns about your loved one’s health. Make sure that you have a doctor whom you like and trust, having a medical professional in your corner will be an undisputed asset as the disease progresses.
Talk to family/friends/neighbours: You are going to need help. Full stop no questions asked, anyone that has a family member with Alzheimer’s will need help if not for your loved one but for yourself! Tell your friends, family and neighbours about what is going on as not only will they be a shoulder to cry on, they will be able to help you: maybe with an extra meal, keeping extra sets of eyes on the neighbourhood for your loved one wondering or watching your loved one so you can have a night off. If you are experiencing feelings such as embarrassment, inadequacy or denial about your loved ones diagnosis I was implore you to seek help and process those feelings. In my experience, denial of the dieses is the worst and scariest reaction. With these families, keeping this information to themselves, for a host of reasons, has created an exponentially harder time for themselves and loved ones to function. And trust me, your doorman or neighbour has noticed something just isn’t right so you’re kidding no one.
Take Care of Yourself: Remember, you don’t have to do it all! Caregivers often forget to take care of themselves. They get so caught up in all the things needing to be done for the one they love, that they fail to see they still have needs too. If you want to be able to give your loved one the best care you can, you need to be eating properly, sleeping well, and taking time to get away for a few hours to relax and enjoy yourself. If you feel that your loved one can’t be left alone, remember that respite care is available to you.
Here at Alvita Care we have a lot of experience with Alzheimer’s suffers and understand that when a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s it can be both scary and confusing. Also, the staff is knowledgeable in the disease and happy to talk and offer suggestions on best practices so give us a call. If you find yourself in this position, here are a few steps that you can take that can help you:
If you want further information about the respite care that we offer, please do not hesitate to contact us.