Millions of individuals are now finding themselves in the position of being a caregiver to one or more of their parents. Finding out that a parent is in the initial stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) can be upsetting, frightening and makes you feel helpless. Most people don’t really know where to begin or how to go about taking care of a parent with this disease. These tips may help resolve confusion, organize and make plans for the future.
Learn About Alzheimer’s Disease
Learning about Alzheimer’s helps to prepare you to handle situations and changes as the illness progresses. You should learn about the mild, moderate and severe stages of AD.
Contact your parent’s doctor and discuss AD. Talk to him about your parent’s stage and what he recommends for care requirements. Research libraries and the Internet, and you’ll find AD workshops and helpful educational programs.
Talking with family, friends or co-workers may also provide support or personal information about dealing with forgetfulness, communications or attitude problems that can be prevalent with AD.
The folks in AD support groups can offer a wealth of knowledge and suggestions because they have already experienced what you are just now learning about. The Alzheimer’s Association, local senior centers, social workers or your parent’s doctor may have recommendations for finding support groups.
Making plans forces you to accept reality and prepare for the future. Unfortunately, memory problems and the inability to make sound decisions or care for one’s self only get worse with time. Therefore, it is best to check out home care options, day care, Meals on Wheels or long-term facilities.
After gathering sufficient information, explain to your parent what their options are. Learn what their preferences are, so you can make decisions together.
Talk with family members to see who can help with the daily care or offer financial support.
Home Care Considerations
- Establish routines that your parent feels comfortable with.
- Make sure your parent gets enjoyable exercise and a healthy diet.
- Learn to adapt to your parent’s physical and mental needs.
- Resolve safety issues that may become a problem as his condition changes.
Maintain Your Mental and Physical Health
At times, you may find yourself dealing with your grief, depression and a trying schedule when caring for parents. See that you get enough rest and breaks away from caregiving so that you remain healthy, and capable of providing care.
It is difficult to access just what your costs may be for care giving because each situation is different. However, the smartest thing to do is to research benefits and assets. Most parents will likely have Social Security, savings or pension income.
Look into insurance coverage and government programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. When your parent is at the beginning stages, a reverse mortgage may be another option to help with expenses.
Understand that you do not have to carry the burden of care all on your own. Family members may be able to help. In addition, many organizations and senior centers can help and provide support.