In today’s Wednesday Workshop we talked about becoming a confident caregiver. For many new caregivers this is such a challenge. You may feel unsure of what to do or when to do it. The most important thing to remember is that you have taken a huge step in becoming someone’s’ caregiver. That step – took confidence! Your willingness to learn and grow as a caregiver will take you a long way.
Some of the things to remember include:
- You probably know the Alzheimer’s patient as well as, if not better than, most! This gives you the advantage. You may already know what they do or don’t like to eat, how hot they like their bath, if they enjoy climbing into bed with a book or sleeping in. Think of all the little nuances that make up a person’s life – the things no one else sees, except those closest to us. You probably know a whole lot more about your loved one than you have been aware of.
- You know yourself. You are well aware of your own personal strengths and weaknesses. Use your strengths to be the best caregiver possible. If you feel you are too weak in an area to be helpful, then ask for help! There is no shame in asking someone to do something you are not capable or comfortable doing.
- Speak Up! As Alzheimer’s disease advances and your loved one cannot speak for them self, you should speak for them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Whether that is with their doctor, a physical therapist, another caregiver who fills in part time, the pharmacist, a nutritionist, the medical insurance company, etc… It can be anyone in any capacity who touches the patient’s life – remember, you speak for them! Be clear, concise. If you’re not satisfied with an answer, ask again, or ask someone else. Keep asking until you get the information you need! This will help you to know what/how to deliver the best care possible. And lastly, but I feel most importantly,
Realize that as the disease progresses, your role as a caregiver will change. It is difficult to see and experience the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s Disease (or Dementia) on someone we love and care for. But it is vitally important to understand the progression of the disease before you are faced with the challenges of change. You can be much better prepared by reading resource materials, talking to professionals and preparing for more caregiving responsibility prior to needing it. This will go a long way to alleviating stress, tension and the surprise of change.
I hope this has been helpful today. Remember, for more information and help you can access our website at www.alzheimerscareresourcecenter.org or call us with questions at 855-476-7600.