Hearing that you’re aging loved one has Alzheimer’s disease is a life-changing moment for both of you. Now is the time for you to start making plans for the care they will need throughout their experience with Alzheimer’s. This is a progressive disease, which means they will experience increased and worsened symptoms and challenges over time. Those living with Alzheimer’s disease can go from experiencing virtually no symptoms, to having mild interference with their daily life, to eventually not being able to interact with the world around them, and having no ability to care for themselves. This can be a daunting prospect, but taking the time to prepare for this progression now helps both of you feel more confident, and prepared for the challenges ahead.
Use these tips to prepare you for the progression of your senior’s Alzheimer’s disease:
- Understand that there are no guarantees. No doctor can look at your aging parent and tell you how quickly they will progress through the disease, or what symptoms they will experience. Every person living with Alzheimer’s disease experiences the progression in a personalized way. There is no way to accurately predict when your parent will develop further challenges, or when their symptoms will become more severe. Understanding this helps to prepare you to be flexible and receptive so you can care for your parent as they need it.
- Learn the stages. While the details of the disease are personal to each individual, there are basic stages that those with Alzheimer’s disease move through during the progression. Learning the stages can give you better insight into the challenges your parent is facing now, as well as those they may begin to develop in the near future. Understanding the stages can also help you to connect those challenges and symptoms that are related to their Alzheimer’s, and separate those that are not.
- Get help and support now. Even if your aging parent is not experiencing serious symptoms, and you are able to fulfill all of their needs on a regular basis without feeling overwhelmed, now is the time for you to seek out help and support. The progression of Alzheimer’s disease can happen in such a way that you don’t recognize the extent of the challenges until they become overwhelming. Seek out a support group for family caregivers with seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease to receive support, encouragement, advice, and a safe place to express your thoughts and emotions. Also work to build your care network with those who are willing to help you take care of your aging parent even as their symptoms increase. This can include friends, family, neighbors, and professionals such as a home care provider.
When you are a family caregiver for an aging adult, it is normal for you to think only of their needs, and how you can fulfill them in the best ways possible. If your parent is struggling with a progressive disease, or extensive health problems, however, you should also think of yourself, and your own needs during this care experience. The challenges of caring for an aging parent, particularly one who is dealing with a progressive disease such as Alzheimer’s can be extensive, and you may find yourself overwhelmed. Introducing home care into your care experience with your parent is a way to address not only your parent’s health problems and personal needs, but your own needs and challenges as well. This promotes higher quality of life for both of you, and also allows for you to put more focus into your parent-child relationship rather than just being their family caregiver.
When you are in need of care for a senior loved one, consider senior care provided by Golden Heart Senior Care. We have offices nationwide. For more information, call us today at (800) 601-2792.