It can be devastating if the time comes that your loved one forgets who you are. Feelings like frustration, hopelessness, and confusion are all normal. The first thing to recognize is that the cause of this is due to the disease, not your loved one. I say this from personal experience in addition to research. I would like to go over some helpful information to keep in mind so that you can show your loved one the care and attention they need as they experience greater memory loss. You will also find some helpful caregiver tips at the bottom of this post.
For the child/family member who’s loved one is in their early stages:
- Don’t give up: People with this disease will likely forget the people around them, this does not mean they are not excited or happy to see you. Maintaining regular visitation can make a huge difference in their daily routine. Keep this in mind when you are thinking that your visitations don’t matter because they do!
- Don’t change: Continue to show them the care and the compassion that you have showed them before the progression of their Alzheimer symptoms. Do not treat them as if they cannot understand what is going on around them. The tone of your voice and the way you look at your loved one can all directly impact your loved ones mood and behavior.
- Timeline: A creative and helpful way to trigger those recollections is to create a photo timeline for your loved one. This timeline can engage your loved ones mind and memory. You will want to search through old photos of your loved ones life and arrange them in chronological order. Remember to include a recent photo of yourself with your name underneath it.
For the caregiver:
- The key to achieving a manageable situation is taking care of yourself first. If you are a caregiver for a loved one, you are among 52 million other Americans who are challenged in balancing their loved ones needs, your needs, and their family’s needs. Here are some pointers that you must remember…
1. Remember at all times you cannot do this alone. You need to seek and accept help from family, friends, and outside resources.
2. Be open to technologies and ideas. Keep yourself well informed by seeking new information
3. Don’t let your loved ones illness take control of your life. Honor yourself
4. Join a support group
Here is a link to the Richmond Support Groups for Alzheimer’s Association. I hope that this information finds you well. Boomers Transitions specializes in coordinating services for those suffering from Alzheimer’s as well as their loved ones. Boomer’s transitions referral program contributes donations to the Alzheimer Association.