Caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s can be a long and intense emotional journey. As your loved one slowly loses ability and ability, you gain new responsibilities and obligations that add to your already busy life. Here at Vista Prairie Communities, we know how difficult these times can be, so we’ve put together a list of tips for adult children with parents suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.
1. Understand the legal and medical powers process and ensure that you or another competent adult have these powers. Sometimes, if a parent is uncooperative, appointing a legal guardian can help keep your loved one healthy and safe.
2. Inform yourself about Medicare and Medicaid. If questions arise, consult with a lawyer who specializes in Elder Law.
3. Educate yourself about the disease by being involved with your parent’s physician and other healthcare professionals. Be aware of the later stages and plan accordingly.
4. Appreciate your Alzheimer’s parent the way he or she is now – before they start to decline. Allow for recurring periods of grieving as each new level evolves.
5. Realize that you cannot expect to be a nurse just because the “need” is there. Don’t hesitate to seek help from professionals.
6. Do nice things for the caregiver to show your appreciation. If you are the caregiver, do nice things for yourself – you definitely deserve it.
7. Conduct a family meeting with your immediate family either in person or by telephone. Don’t be afraid to discuss the difficult topics like finances or job assignments of family members.
8. Remember that each of us reacts differently to an Alzheimer’s person. Some people take longer to recognize the symptoms and to accept the diagnosis. Denial is part of our coping mechanism, so be patient with those who have yet to acknowledge that your loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s.
9. Consider moving your parent into a senior living community with memory care, like Vista Prairie Communities. VPC offers programs with activities for dementia patients that help relieve the anxiety, confusion and frustration that impact daily life.
10. Attend a support group meeting and encourage other family members to do so as well. Vista Prairie Communities offers free education and support programs for family members of care-facility residents facing Alzheimer’s.
Being a caregiver for a parent with Alzheimer’s can be difficult. We hope you find this list useful as you continue to help your loved ones throughout their lives. You can find more information on Alzheimer’s and caregiving by visiting the Alzheimer’s Association.