As the primary caregiver of someone with Alzheimer's, you've got a lot of responsibility and so many choices to make. Once you've decided on a home care agency for your loved one, working closely with them will benefit everyone involved. Here are six ways to accomplish that goal.
Be An Active Member Of The Team
Alzheimer's care involves many professionals, particularly as the disease advances. Psychiatrists, for example, play a very important role in helping people keep connections to the world around them and make difficult decisions. Nutritionists help improve diets, and physical therapists work to keep the body more functional.
Get to know all of them, and keep the lines of communication always open. Together, you can manage the disease far more effectively, and you need all the support you can get yourself, too.
Supply Interactive Materials Yourself
While most home care agencies have things they can bring to a home to engage a person with Alzheimer's, the interactive process may benefit greatly if you hand select these items instead. Even a deck of cards bearing relevant designs, such as pictures of somewhere familiar to your loved one, can invoke memories and provoke connections in the mind.
Newspapers and periodicals from a particular group might also prove more useful, as will other reading materials and games. The key is to intervene with anything generic about the care, and personalize it to something more productive.
Drop In Unannounced Once In A While
Since your home care is screened and scrutinized, it's not actually necessary to spy on their staff, although this may help to calm any remaining apprehensions you might have. More useful, though, is the fact that your loved one will clearly see how you're looking after them. They will appreciate seeing you and whatever you may add to the visit.
Stopping by without notice can also add a normalcy to the home care scenario, relaxing some of the professional constraints that make it seem like a patient-based relationship. Although it is technically defined that way, turning it into a more familial experience lightens the load for everyone.
Take A Walk On The Wild Side
Pets are shown to be very helpful to elders in general and particularly people with Alzheimer's. If the situation permits and introducing an animal to the household has fewer drawbacks than benefits, see about bringing in a cat, bird or fish aquarium. Obviously something easier to take care of is best, but the new life may breed new stimulation, affection and fun.
If it's not practical to get a new pet for the house, ask the home care supervisor if there are other ways your loved one can benefit from the company of an animal, such as staff bringing a creature for a visit. Animals help people make connections, and those are essential to your loved one at this time.
Take Cleaning Duty Away From Home Care
Many home care services include cleaning, however, if you can find the time to take care of such chores before agency personnel arrive, they can then do something more interactive and beneficial with your loved one. For example, if you've got a free hour on Tuesday night and home care is scheduled to visit your loved one on Wednesday, stop in and spiff the place up. This gives them more time for quality activities, like reading, games or even simple conversation, all of which are shown to help with Alzheimer's.
Rotate Direct Family Involvement
The non-financial burden of this disease is astounding on relatives providing personal care: Stress, depression, exhaustion and heartache can easily overcome someone looking after a loved one with Alzheimer's. It is therefore crucial to your well-being to have others in the family that help in one way or another. For example, rotating laundry duty, cooking extra helpings at meals and calling the person with Alzheimer's once a week are all ways other people might alleviate the weight on your shoulders.
Orchestrating the daily life of a loved one with dementia is a difficult road nobody should walk alone. Putting together a great team and being an active member of it will make life much better for everyone involved. Click here to continue reading about other options.