What to Know Before Caregiving for a Parent With Alzheimer’s

Last Updated: July 18, 2018

It can be very challenging to take care of a parent who has Alzheimer’s disease. The emotional, mental and physical demands are one thing, but there are also financial costs involved in such an important role as well.What to Know Before Caregiving for a Parent With Alzheimer's

Here are some important things you should be aware of before caregiving for a parent with Alzheimer’s.

Things Caregivers Can Expect From a Parent With Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s manifests itself in different ways, depending on the person who is suffering from it. One person’s symptoms may differ from another’s and there can be drastic changes experienced over time. Symptoms will also become worse over a period of time. They can be controlled by medication, but not completely removed.

Further, there is the variable of depression, which could aggravate one’s symptoms and affect how your parent goes through life with Alzheimer’s.

The most important tool you need, on a broader level, is knowledge.  It is absolutely essential that you are aware of what Alzheimer’s is about:

  • Its symptoms throughout various stages
  • Ways in which you can mitigate these symptoms
  • Ways for you to help your loved one cope with their ailment

You have an important role to be aware of everything Alzheimer’s entails and having vast knowledge is part of that role.

There are Alzheimer’s caregiver programs and training available that could further arm you with the knowledge you need about the disease. These resources help you recognize Alzheimer’s behavior and learn how to communicate with those suffering from the disease, among other things.

Tools for Taking Care of Yourself

There are definite trials and travails when caring for parents with Alzheimer’s, but you should always make it a point to take care of yourself like you take care of others.

This could be managed through several techniques and tools such as:

  1. Asking family members to assist you in the caregiving process as you exercise, do household chores or take care of work.
  2. Finding the support of friends whom you can talk to about your situation and that of your parent.
  3. Researching about your loved one’s condition, which can help you gauge how much you can contribute.
  4. Using adult day care programs.
  5. Using technology aimed to ease your complicated work. The Pumpic app for aging loved ones is one helpful technology that allows you to reduce online fraud and scam by monitoring your parents’ online activity. In addition, you can see the real-time GPS location of your parents from your phone without having to worry about why they wouldn’t pick up the phone.

Things to Remember When Caregiving for a Parent With Alzheimer’s

One important thing to remember is that you do not have to do everything for your loved one with Alzheimer’s. Allow them to do the tasks they can handle, such as dressing themselves, but allow them leeway to finish the task on their own and at their own pace.

You should also make it a point to ask your loved one about living wills and other matters as early in their Alzheimer’s progression as possible.

What did you learn after becoming a caregiver for a parent with Alzheimer’s? We’d in the comments below.

About the Authors

Paula Green writes about “Ways to Help Your Parents Who Have Alzheimer’s,” and Mrs. Bing is an IT specialist and a caregiver for her father with the disease.

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