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Building an Alzheimerís Support Network

Asking for Help

There is no need to take on everything all by yourself. Accept help from friends and family members, and reach out beyond your immediate circle when you feel it might help. Joining a support group will give you access to a group of other Alzheimerís caregivers whom you can confide in and bond with over the years, and hiring respite-care-professionals can help make your life easier when times are temporarily tough, or once your loved one reaches the severe stage of Alzheimerís disease.

Of course, we recognize that itís not always possible to get immediate help or answers. Here are some tips to keep in mind so that youíre able to help yourself more often:

Day-To-Day Tips For Alzheimerís Caregivers

LISTENING

LISTENING

  • Listen patiently and show you care about what is being said.
  • Be patient and encourage the person to explain his or her thoughts.
  • Search for meaning in what the person is saying if it isnít clear. Itís OK to guess words to help him or her out.
  • Encourage gesturing when verbal communication becomes difficult.

Speaking:

Speaking

  • Use the personís name to get his or her attention.
  • Speak in short, simple words.
  • Be patient and donít hesitate to repeat yourself if not understood the first time.
  • Tell, donít ask. Instead of asking ďAre you looking for your fork?Ē skip straight to the useful information: ďYour fork is on the table.Ē
  • Be specific. For example, avoid saying ďHop in!Ē if you do not want your loved one to hop and sustain an injury.
  • Donít argue or try to convince the person of anything.
  • Listening

    • Listen patiently and show you care about what is being said.
    • Be patient and encourage the person to explain his or her thoughts.
    • Search for meaning in what the person is saying if it isnít clear. Itís OK to guess words to help him or her out.
    • Encourage gesturing when verbal communication becomes difficult.
  • Speaking

    • Use the personís name to get his or her attention.
    • Speak in short, simple words.
    • Be patient and donít hesitate to repeat yourself if not understood the first time.
    • Tell, donít ask. Instead of asking "Are you looking for your fork?" skip straight to the useful information: "Your fork is on the table."
    • Be specific. For example, avoid saying "Hop in!" if you do not want your loved one to hop and sustain an injury.
    • Donít argue or try to convince the person of anything.

Respite Care

Alzheimerís caregiving is a demanding job. You donít just deserve to take breaks, you need them in order to stay healthy. Respite-care services can give you time to yourself and peace of mind, and can benefit your loved one too by letting them spend time with other caring individuals and people going through similar experiences.

  • Caregiver Insight

    Respite care is a great, flexible option as it can be utilized temporarily or full-time, at home or in a facility. Whatever works for you.

    Additional Benefits of Respite Care for Alzheimerís Caregivers:

    • You will get guaranteed time to relax and visit with friends and family.
    • Youíll have a chance to take care of errands, get a haircut, or go for a run without worrying.
    • Having another person on call whom you trust and feel good about leaving your loved one with can be very calming.
    • Your loved one can enjoy activities suited to his or her needs and ability level.
  • Caregiver Insight

    If youíre worried about the quality of care your loved one will receive, ask the aide or the facility about their training and qualifications. Check all references.

    Caregiver Insight

    Respite care is a great, flexible option as it can be utilized temporarily or full-time, at home or in a facility. Whatever works for you.

    Types of Respite Care:

    • In-home care options range from a home health aide to assist with bathing, dressing, exercising, and using the toilet; to a maid service to help with laundry, grocery shopping, and cooking; to specialized services meant to assist the person with medication and other medical needs. You can even opt for a companion service to provide supervised friend dates between your loved one and another person with Alzheimerís, based around appropriate activities.
    • Adult day centers can be comforting, since you know that the person you care for should be taken care of in a safe environment, and enjoy group activities while you relax or do errands. Meals and transportation are typically included.
    • Residential facilities offer supervised overnight stays lasting anywhere from one night to several weeks, and are perfect for when you need a night to yourself or for when youíre planning a vacation.

Caregiver Insight

If youíre worried about the quality of care your loved one will receive, ask the aide or the facility about their training and qualifications. Check all references.

Alzheimerís Support Groups

When caring for somebody with Alzheimerís, it helps to talk to others going through the same thing. Thankfully, the Alzheimerís caregiving community is big and there are plenty of support groups available, where caregivers can come together to exchange tips, and share their feelings, needs, and concerns.

Read about some of these groups through The Alzheimerís Association.

See how your caregiving experience compares with others by filling out this short survey.

See how your caregiving experience compares with others by filling out this short survey.

Visually track where youíve placed the patch on your loved one with our free mobile app.

Visually track where youíve placed the patch on your loved one with our free mobile app.

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