What can Caregivers do if they care for someone with Dementia / Alzheimer's?
People who care for somebody with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia are often confronted with many challenges and often develop depression. Specifically, family members who care for a loved-one with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia often have a bad conscious when they're not with their family member. In fact, it IS important to also take care of yourself and focus on your own needs as well. Here are some tips, if you care for somebody with Alzheimer’s:
Although their behavior may change and become more erratic as the disease progresses, it is important to remember that your loved one is still in there. If they become muddled or can’t remember something, don’t get frustrated at them, simply listen. Although this can be difficult, arguing about a forgotten memory will only cause more distress.
Caring for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s can also take its toll, so you also need to remember to take some time for yourself - it will benefit both you and your loved one.
What do I need to know if a family member has Alzheimer's?
If a family member has been formally diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it is important to seek the right support for both your loved one and yourself. Initially, your family member may be able to make clear decisions about their health, so devising an action plan for future care is essential. It is important to ensure that you or another close family member has been appointed power of attorney by your loved one while they can still make clear decisions. Your loved one should also get assessed by a doctor after their diagnosis, as they can direct you to services which offer both physical and emotional help.
What do I do if a family member has Alzheimer's?
MindMate supports family members and caregivers in many ways. Sometimes, MindMate can be a fun distraction for the caregiver of a family member with cognitive decline by trying our games, or even the physical activities! Keep in mind that you also need to take care of yourself in order to take care of others. Caregivers or family members can also use MindMate to do meaningful activities together with their loved-ones who live with Alzheimer’s. For later stage patients we offer music and tv from the 1950s to the 1990s. Plus, doing some light workouts together (even if it’s just seated activities) can be fun. Also, playing the MindMate games together is a welcome change for many caregivers and family members, as it gives you something to talk about.
How can MindMate support caregivers and family members?
The most important aspect of communicating with someone who has Alzheimer’s or Dementia is patience. They may forget what they were saying mid sentence, or struggle to find the words they were looking for. Take the time to respond and try not to interrupt or assume what the person was saying, as this can cause them to retreat into themselves and isolate themselves from future conversations.
One-to-one environments are often better when trying to communicate with a person with Alzheimer’s or Dementia, so try to speak to them in these types of environments when possible.
In the middle stage of Alzheimer’s, it’s helpful to ask direct yes or no questions. For example, “Would you like some coffee?” rather than “What would you like to drink?”.
Again, avoid criticizing or correcting. Instead, listen and try to find the meaning in what the person says. Repeat what was said to clarify. Above all else, don’t pull away, and remain present. Your companionship will mean most to the person even if they can’t fully communicate that.