As Alzheimer’s progresses, you’ll be spending more time caring for your parent. Agitation, anger, fear, and frustration can make this care difficult to handle. Experts give six pieces of advice that you can use to better understand and help your parent.
Stick to Short and Sweet Answers and Instructions
As cognitive skills diminish, it’s harder for your parent to comprehend long sentences. Try to keep your answers to a few words. Avoid harder vocabulary. Speak slowly and loud enough for your parent to hear if his or her hearing is also diminishing.
You also need to stick to simple instructions if you need your mom or dad to do something. If you’re going to an appointment, stick to quick instructions like “it’s time to get in the car,” instead of “we need to go to your doctor’s appointment, so it’s time to get dressed, get your purse/wallet, and get in the car.”
Stop Being a Fixer
When you’re caring for a parent who is agitated and scared, it’s normal to want to make things better. You can’t fix the issues Alzheimer’s creates, however. While it’s hard to get out of this frame of mind, you need to try to stop fixing and simply make the most of every moment you have together.
Use These Tricks to Get Sleep
When you’re living with a parent who has Alzheimer’s, wandering is a risk. If your parent has poor bedtime habits, it can make it hard to get sleep. Until your parent settles down, you can’t go to sleep. You’re too busy worrying about your parent wandering off.
Door and window alarms will alert you to your parent trying to get outside. That’s a worst-case scenario, but it’s important to plan for it. Now, you can focus on getting your parent to sleep through the night. Keep your mom or dad busy all day. Try to prevent any napping so that your parent is tired at night.
Avoid lots of water before bedtime to lessen the chances of early morning bathroom trips that might keep your parent awake. A full meal before bedtime may cause indigestion. Aim for a bigger lunch than dinner, and serve dinner hours before bedtime.
It’s Okay to Need to Walk Away
Caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s is hard on the emotions. If you reach a point where you feel overwhelmed, it’s okay to walk away. Hire respite care from a senior care agency and take a day or two for yourself. Go shopping, visit friends, go out of town and lounge on a beach. Make sure you’re using respite care to practice self-care.
Respite care is easy to arrange. Call our senior care agency to ask about fees and schedules. A representative can help you set up senior care aides as often as needed.