Caring for a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) can give you an opportunity to bond and share precious time together. At the same time, the challenges associated with a progressive disease like Alzheimer’s can contribute to increased stress and anxiety, which could take a toll on your own health and wellbeing. Fortunately, there are ways Alzheimer’s caregivers can address stress and anxiety.
1. Educate Yourself about Your Loved One’s Disease
You probably have a general idea of what Alzheimer’s disease is, but this condition has many aspects, and new research is always being published. One way to ease your caregiver stress and anxiety is to learn as much as you can about AD. Your loved one’s doctor should be able to direct you toward reliable sources of information and offer advice about your loved one’s specific care needs.
One of the most important things to consider is whether and when to hire a professional caregiver for your loved one. Families looking for top-rated elder care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.
2. Make Preparations with Your Loved One as Early as Possible
Stress and anxiety can certainly increase when you have to make important decisions for a loved one with AD when he or she is no longer capable of doing so independently. One way to ease this type of stress is to involve your loved one in crucial decisions while he or she is still able to clearly articulate his or her wishes. Topics to cover typically include:
• Who will make healthcare/financial decisions when your loved one is unable to do so
• Medical care preferences (e.g., degree of resuscitation efforts, artificial life support preferences, etc.)
• Preferences for final arrangements
Some of these conversations may not be pleasant. However, making these decisions early can relieve a lot of stress for family members.
3. Stick to a Consistent Care Routine
Seniors with Alzheimer’s tend to be more relaxed when they have consistent routines. Having a regular daily routine can also reduce your stress and anxiety by giving you a good idea of what you’ll need to do to care for your parent so you can comfortably fit your other responsibilities into your schedule. Also, be prepared to adjust your loved one’s routine as the disease progresses, which might mean finding new ways to communicate or doing certain tasks when your loved one is calmer.
4. Find Ways to Get Some Assistance
A surefire way to increase stress is to attempt to do everything yourself. Plus, you’ll likely reach a point where you’re so physically and emotionally drained that you’ll be unable to provide the level of care your loved one deserves. Instead, get the assistance you need by:
• Coordinating caregiving efforts with other family members so you’re not overwhelmed
• Accepting help when it’s offered and asking for it when it’s needed
• Taking advantage of available services like respite care or in-home care so you can take breaks and tend to your own needs without feeling guilty
A trained Alzheimer’s caregiver can be a wonderful source of information and support for you and your family. When searching for reliable New Hampshire senior care agencies, families want to know their senior loved ones will be well taken care of. At Home Care Assistance, our expertly trained caregivers are available around the clock to assist with tasks around the house, provide transportation to medical appointments and social events, and much more.
5. Learn to Manage Behavioral Changes
During the later stages of Alzheimer’s, significant personality changes can occur. For instance, your loved one might be more aggressive, have angry outbursts for no clear reason, insist he or she sees things that aren’t there, or become easily frustrated or agitated. When situations like this occur, ease stress and anxiety by:
• Not taking your parent’s agitation or anger personally
• Speaking in a calm, reassuring tone
• Giving your loved one some time alone to calm down after making sure he or she is physically safe
• Calling on a responsible friend or family member to take over if you need some time to calm down
6. Find an Outlet for Your Own Feelings
As your loved one’s condition advances and noticeable physical and mental changes occur, it’s perfectly normal for you to feel emotional stress, but keeping your feelings bottled up will only add to your anxiety. Consider the following options for handling your feelings:
• Keeping a journal
• Having a trusted friend to confide in
• Joining a support group for caregivers
Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors to handle without assistance, and it can be just as challenging for families who don’t have experience in providing Alzheimer’s care. New Hampshire Home Care Assistance provides Alzheimer’s care seniors and their families can depend on. Our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics Method was designed to help seniors with Alzheimer’s and other memory-related conditions live happier and healthier lives. Reach out to us at Home Care Assistance if you need compassionate, professional elder care for your loved one. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at (603) 471-3004 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.