As we all know, taking care of an Alzheimer’s patient can be a full-time job that quickly leads to physical and mental exhaustion. Alzheimer’s patients, especially those in the mid and late stages, require around the clock care and no one can do that alone.
If you’re the primary caregiver of an Alzheimer’s loved one it’s important to ask for help for two reasons. First, simply to preserve your own well-being, and second, because you can’t provide good care for your loved one if you’re exhausted all the time.
Many caregivers are reluctant to ask for help. They often feel they should be able to do it all and they don’t want to impose upon others. The fact of the matter, however, is that most people are happy to help, they just don’t know what to do.
A good way to start is to make a written list of some of the things you are currently doing that could potentially be done by someone else. Then you can assign names of possible helpers to each task. After that you can call each person on the list and simply ask if they would be willing to do that particular task.
Here are 10 ideas for specific ways friends and family members can help you out:
- Do the laundry
- Help clean the house
- Cook a meal
- Mow the lawn
- Make minor home repairs
- Pick up the patient’s medicines from the pharmacy
- Take your loved one to a doctor’s appointment or other appointments
- Take your loved one out for a drive
- Come over for coffee and just be there for you as you talk about your feelings
- Most important, look after your loved one for a few hours so you can have some time to yourself
So the next time someone says, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help,” have a specific request ready for them. You might be surprised at the positive responses you’ll get.
For more information on this topic see Alzheimer’s Caregiving: How to Ask for Help, an article published on the Mayo Clinic’s web site (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/alzheimers-caregiver/AZ00018).