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.

Related Articles:

Please leave your thoughts and comments

  • Lu Martin

    In my case, I didn’t have the time to research anything before I brought my mother home with me to take care of her. She became ill, admitted to the hospital, and the doctor there told me that my mom could not live alone anymore. I have a parent who is in denial that she has a problem, and REFUSES to allow the doctor to give her any type of test, and since he cannot give her a dianosis, she refuses to believe what I tell her. This has been going on for over 2-1/2 years now, and I’m exhausted. Right now I feel that my life means nothing to any one. I cannot understand why one life matters, and another one doesn’t. Everything doesn’t fit into a neat little package. Just saying.

    • loav8r

      Can you seek help from In-Home Care providers that specialize in dementia/Alzheimers? They might be able to offer solutions and help.

      • Lu Martin

        We have a person come in Monday-Friday to take care of Mom while I am at work, and she doesn’t have any special training in that type of care. I called the Agency for the Aging in Iowa, and they offered no help at all. Just told me to call the nursing home.

  • Elaine

    Do not try to convince your mother of her illness. She’s trying to make sense of what is happening to her, at this stage they are aware and try to give reason to what is senseless … By trying to convince her, you are trying to rationalize with someone who’s very disease is to be irrational.

    I found that validating my mothers fears and expressing empathy for her daily woes seemed to keep her calm and allow her to trust me so that we could get her care.

    I always tried to include her in conversations about her care and the direction we take. Even if it seemed she didn’t understand, she did. And at various points she was able to articulate her feelings.

    Even when her body laid mangled and her communication nearly null, when she did talk, she was on point and aware of what was going on around her. Always treat her with respect verbally and in actions, do not talk as if she is I. The room. Explain to her what you’re doing when moving her, feeding her, changing her… What ever the activity treat her as a participant in her life.

    I felt like my parents are equivalent to special needs children. I want to make this time as wonderful as possible for them as their disease in and of itself is enough for them to contend with.

    Always be patient, if they don’t want to eat something, offer something else. Remember change is difficult for them, try to maintain stability in their environment, tell them stories, talk a little slower and pause to allow them to process.

    Your life will come to a halt, but the reward is worth it. We don’t always have an opportunity to give back — to give and do for our parents when they are most vulnerable is a gift of love.

    Help? I’ve hired help for them, but you still need to micromanage care. Just plan on it.

    Hope this helps

About The Author

Profile photo of Paula Green