A true friend is always willing to help in a time of need. If you’re a caregiver who feels like they’re drowning, then it’s time to reach out for help. Concerned friends, relatives, and colleagues can help the caregivers of dementia patients in many ways.
Here is a list that can help with ideas on how to support the caregiver. Or they can ask the caregiver what they want them to help with.
It is best to start with simple, do-able activities that provide immediate relief to the caregiver. Leave more complex activities for later, such as activities that require too much handing over, require skill on the helper’s part, or where the helper and/ or the caregiver lack confidence that the helper can handle it.
Here are some tasks, errands and activities a friend can help you with:
- Outside chores, such as shopping, couriering packets, visiting the post office, laundry drop/ pickup, bank work, paying bills, and buying medicines
- Home chores that do not require interacting with the patient. Examples are dusting, cleaning, cooking, helping with the laundry at home.
- Assisting the caregiver in researching options for care for the patient.
- Helping the caregiver set up the home for the patient, in designing/ coordinating, purchasing, and installing what is needed, or in moving things around the home to make the home more suitable for the patient.
- Assisting with taking the patient for checkups and other necessary medical activities. The person trying to help can facilitate such trips (such as coordinating an ambulance or driving the patient, helping the patient into a wheelchair or supporting the patient walk, even interacting with the doctor or nurse
- Helping with patient’s activities of daily living.
- Simple presence with the patient (like baby sitting). For example, sitting with the patient when the patient is sleeping and the caregiver needs to do other errands in the home or nearby, or needs to make phone calls from another part of the house.
- Taking over the caregiving for a few hours or days to give respite to the caregiver.
- Helping in home nursing of the patient.
- Helping support the patient walk.
- Helping the caregiver set up material for “activities” with the patient.
- Spending a relaxed time with the patient, chatting, listening to music, or even playing games. It could even involve being with the patient while doing “meaningful activities” like folding clothes or sorting papers or shelling peas.
- Taking the patient for a drive.
- Taking the patient for outings. This may require planning and coordination.
For anyone who wants to help, there are many options because help can be given at various levels, and with varying degree of involvement with the patient.
There is one more, very important area for supporting the caregiver:
- Being available as someone who listens to, and provides emotional support to the caregiver
- Providing suggestions to the caregiver for handling the care, and for other areas of the caregiver’s life
- Helping the caregiver nurture himself/ herself
To contact us here at the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center
Please call us at (561) 588-4545. Thanks for watching today’s Monday mojo and we’ll see you again next week!