When memory loss becomes something more than just aging and progresses to a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, it can feel overwhelming. Here are some tips on how to take care of a spouse or loved one:
- Don’t forget about self-care. On an airplane, passengers are always told to put on their own oxygen masks before helping others. This advice also should apply to caregiving. According to Psychology Today, eating and sleeping are critical to being fully present for the loved one.
- Simplify as much as possible. The National Institute on Aging suggests saying things one at a time and keeping a daily routine can help with any personality and behavior changes that might happen.
- Focus on communication. Provide reassurance, don’t try to argue and try other forms of communication such as music, singing or dancing, says The National Institute on Aging. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help from the loved one with chores.
- Find a supportive community. Local municipalities may offer support groups where caregivers can discuss their challenges and learn about how others are coping together. Psychology Today notes that many people find support groups extremely beneficial even if they don’t think they are needed initially.
- Find credible resources online. One place to start might be The National Institute on Aging, which has information on Alzheimer’s through the Alzheimer’s and related Dementias Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center.
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