November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, and for many, that means a month that finally recognizes the vital role that caregivers and support persons serve for those living with Alzheimer’s Disease.

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, there are a variety of emotional and physical adjustments being made in order to cope with such a diagnosis. Caregivers and support persons are no exception to this process. Whether that means addressing concerns about how care will be provided, arranging power of attorney or guardianship of a loved one, making living arrangements, or other concerns, the role that caregivers serve is irreplaceable in the life of someone living with Alzheimer’s.

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, a patient and his or her caregiver will want to study up on and make decisions about some key points of care.

  • Help your loved one find a support group or outlet in an effort to address the emotional and mental rigors of dealing with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Fear, grief, and depression can sometimes result from a life-altering event like an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. By helping your loved one (and in many cases, the caregiver themselves) locate a supportive outlet or group, this transition will be made much less difficult than “going it alone.”
  • Provide your loved one with ways to help organize important information like appointments, phone numbers, and events coming up. Even something as simple as a calendar with family birthdates and full names can be helpful. As time goes on, you may be called upon to help provide more information and more assistance in recalling things that used to be easier for your loved one.
  • Discuss living arrangements and other things like patient’s rights and power of attorney. These are not always the easiest discussions to have, especially after such a shocking diagnosis. However, by clearing these issues ahead of time, you will save your loved one so much worry and stress and they can get back to the business of learning to live with Alzheimer’s.
  • Try to develop a daily routine. Routines are so important in all stages of life – and patients dealing with Alzheimer’s are certainly no exception. Little points of their day will be a source of happiness and joy, and making sure that a routine is established will be so worth it to you in terms of keeping yourself organized and on-schedule. Simple things like a morning paper and coffee, or a walk around the local wellness center track will end up making a huge difference in overall quality of life for your loved one.

For more great tips on helping your loved one through the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, please visit www.alz.org.

« »