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Holidays can be challenging for people with Alzheimer’s disease, and can be a particularly stressful time for caregivers. The added layer of seemingly required holiday rituals, family and other social obligations, may completely tear apart an already stretched thin caregiving schedule. If you know a caregiver or their loved one, what can you do to help? If you are a caregiver, how can others help you?
Reach out and share the precious gift of time
Bake some cookies or provide a frozen meal for a caregiving neighbor or friend. Bring a treat or holiday cards to an assisted living facility, or spend an afternoon listening to some old-time music with someone without local family. Smile. Hold a hand or pat a shoulder. Make a coupon book for a caregiver, providing coupons for cleaning service, errands or respite time. Ask friends to do the same for you. Continue reading “Helping Alzheimer’s Families – Including Your Own – Survive the Holidays” »
For people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, yesterday can be difficult to recall, but yesteryear can still be totally intact. Before the disease progresses too far, it is a wonderful idea to try and capture fading memories. Capturing the past provides personal insights and stories relating to both your loved one and the entire family. As an added bonus, an effort focused on preserving memories can be both a nice family sharing activity, as well as a therapeutic and comforting process for your loved one. Continue reading “Preserving Memories” »
The rule of thumb when talking to kids about Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), is to be simple and honest, try and educate them (age-appropriately), and realize that they may be having a lot of feelings that they may not be able to – or want to – articulate. Those feelings may be wide-ranging, from concern about their loved one (many times this is a grand-parent), to conflicted feelings about their loved one’s caregiver (many times this is actually the child’s parent who now has less time for the child), to feelings of embarrassment around their peers. Continue reading “Talking to Kids about Alzheimer’s Disease” »
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but symptoms may be reduced and quality of life may be improved – for a time – through any number of “complementary” therapies that are available. It is worth noting that most of these therapies can also help the caregiver to relax and gain some much needed respite. Consult your loved one’s occupational therapist or doctor about what therapies might best complement their existing medical treatment plan. Continue reading “Complementary Therapies That May Help” »
Prior to any diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, you may feel that a loved one is having memory related issues or experiencing some confusion. A thorough medical and neurological evaluation will be needed for a solid diagnosis, as there could be other health reasons for the memory lapse, but going to the doctor is the first step. You may find that your loved one is resistant to the idea of a medical appointment, in which case your very first duty as a caregiver is to try and get them to go. Here are some tips on how to prepare for a pre-diagnosis doctor’s visit. It may be easier to start with your loved one’s primary care physician, whom they know and trust, to get a referral to a memory disorder specialist. Continue reading “Visiting the Doctor with Your Loved One” »