Posts Tagged ‘Alzheimer’s Association’

15 Tips for Surviving as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Friday, December 19th, 2014
  1. Become an educated caregiver: Some useful sites for educating yourself are the Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Reading Room. Also, attend any caregiving seminars presented in your community.
  2. Ask for help – and accept it: Don’t be too proud to ask for help. Getting help can make a major difference in your life.
  3. Take care of yourself: Try to eat well, exercise regularly and visit your doctor when needed.
  4. Give yourself credit – not guilt: Make a list of all the things you are doing correctly and look at it frequently.
  5. Consult a geriatric care manager: Geriatric care managers are specialists who help families care for elderly relatives. They can provide valuable information and resources you will need to help you through these difficult times.
  6. Contact the Alzheimer’s Association for help: The Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org) has a 24/7 help line. Just call 1-800-272-3900.
  7. Contact the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America for help: This organization (alzfdn.org) has a help line operated between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM Monday through Friday. Call 1-866-232-8484.
  8. Study and put into practice “The Caregiver’s Bill of Rights:” You can find this document here.
  9. See a psychotherapist: If your stress level is very high or if you are feeling depressed, a therapist might be able to help you.
  10. Consult with your spiritual leader: If you are a religious person your spiritual leader might also be able to help you.
  11. Join a support group: Support groups can be helpful for Alzheimer’s caregivers, even if you just listen in.
  12. See a family therapist if there is conflict in your family: If there is a lot of conflict among family members consider seeing a family therapist.
  13. Keep a journal: Writing about your experiences and feelings every day can also be therapeutic.
  14. Learn how to get along better with your loved one: Here are three quick tips: Don’t contradict or argue with them, Don’t bring up subjects that might upset them, and if they do get upset quickly change the subject. Following these tips will lead to a better relationship.
  15. Take up a hobby about which you become passionate. It’s important to have time to yourself. Find a hobby you love. It can make a big difference.

NOTE: A few of these tips are based on ones presented by the Alzheimer’s Association.

Overcoming Denial When a Loved One Shows Signs of Alzheimer’s

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Alzheimer’s is, above all, an insidious disease. Its symptoms often begin so mildly and progress so slowly that it’s easy for friends and loved ones to deny them until one day there’s a ‘defining incident;’ an incident so bizarre that not even the spouse, child or other loved one can ignore it or explain it away.

Yet the disease typically starts with things of little or no significance. Not being able to come up with a common word. Mixing up someone’s name. Forgetting to turn off the stove. Things we all do from time to time. But for the person just entering the fringes of Alzheimer’s these things may begin to happen more and more often.

Years may pass between the earliest occasional confusion and the ‘defining incident.’ And during those years, the person may annoy or even anger friends and family members by being late, forgetting important appointments, being short-tempered, being unable to perform routine tasks, and exhibiting a whole variety of other troublesome behaviors.

But people noticing consistent signs of confusion and forgetfulness in a loved one should not wait for the ‘defining incident.’ One early action to take is to review the Alzheimer’s Association 10 Signs of Dementia and ask yourself whether your loved one is showing one or more of them:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work and at leisure
  4. Confusion with time or place
  5. Difficulty understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
  7. Losing things and the inability to retrace steps
  8. Decreased or poor judgment
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
  10. Changes in mood and personality

The Alzheimer’s Association web site has additional information about each of these items and explains how they differ from things ‘normal people’ do from time to time.

It’s easy to ignore these signs or fail to connect the dots, but when a loved one is showing them it’s essential to dig down deep into your soul and find the emotional strength to get a medical evaluation. No one wants to be evaluated, or have a loved one evaluated, for Alzheimer’s disease, but sometimes it has to be done – and the sooner the better.

 

An Excellent Resource for You – The Alzheimer’s Association Website

Monday, August 25th, 2014

The Alzheimer’s Association website is an excellent resource for caregivers. To access the caregiver resources, click on “Life with Alzheimer’s” at the top of the page and then click on “Caregiver Center.” There you’ll find several major links. To get an idea of the breadth and depth of information provided, click on each one of these and take a look at the sub-links and their sub-links.

For example, “Daily Care” has sections on Behaviors, Communication, Activities, Respite Care, Memory Loss, Personal Care and Medical Care. Click on these titles to see what is included in each. Under Personal Care you’ll find information and advice about issues such as Incontinence, Bathing, Dressing, Grooming, and Dental Care, just to name a few.

Under “Get Support” you’ll find sub-sections on Finding Your Local Chapter, Message Boards, Support Groups, Your Health, and Care Training. There are Message Boards for Caregivers, Spouses’ or Partners’ Caregivers and Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementias. The section on Support Groups includes information on how to find one locally. There are also online Support Groups operated by the Association.

If you click on “Planning for the Future” you’ll see topics such as Legal Matters, Care Options, Pay for Care, Safety, Dementia and Driving, as well as detailed explanations of Medicare, Medicare Part D, Medicaid, Insurance, and other related issues.

The section for “Kids and Teens” is especially helpful for families having young people affected by the Alzheimer’s disease of a grandparent or other close elderly person. It includes introductory information, videos, an explanation of how Alzheimer’s affects the brain, and stories for different age groups.

There is also an impressive list of 101 activities kids and teens can do with a person who has Alzheimer’s. In addition, there are resources for parents, including advice on how to talk to children and teens about Alzheimer’s disease. Finally there is a link to purchase Maria Shriver’s book, “What’s Happening to Grandpa?”

The Community Resource Finder section can help you find local resources, including your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter, various types of facilities, geriatric care managers, day care programs, elder law attorneys, home care professionals, support groups, hospices and transportation.

Overcoming Denial When a Loved One Shows Signs of Alzheimer’s

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Alzheimer’s is, above all, an insidious disease. Its symptoms often begin so mildly and progress so slowly that it’s easy for friends and loved ones to deny them until one day there’s a ‘defining incident;’ an incident so bizarre that not even the spouse, child or other loved one can ignore it or explain it away.

Yet the disease typically starts with things of little or no significance. Not being able to come up with a common word. Mixing up someone’s name. Forgetting to turn off the stove. Things we all do from time to time. But for the person just entering the fringes of Alzheimer’s these things may begin to happen more and more often.

Years may pass between the earliest occasional confusion and the ‘defining incident.’ And during those years, the person may annoy or even anger friends and family members by being late, forgetting important appointments, being short-tempered, being unable to perform routine tasks, and exhibiting a whole variety of other troublesome behaviors.

But people noticing consistent signs of confusion and forgetfulness in a loved one should not wait for the ‘defining incident.’ One early action to take is to review the Alzheimer’s Association 10 Signs of Dementia and ask yourself whether your loved one is showing one or more of them:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work and at leisure
  4. Confusion with time or place
  5. Difficulty understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
  7. Losing things and the inability to retrace steps
  8. Decreased or poor judgment
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
  10. Changes in mood and personality

The Alzheimer’s Association web site has additional information about each of these items and explains how they differ from things ‘normal people’ do from time to time.

It’s easy to ignore these signs or fail to connect the dots, but when a loved one is showing them it’s essential to dig down deep into your soul and find the emotional strength to get a medical evaluation. No one wants to be evaluated, or have a loved one evaluated, for Alzheimer’s disease, but sometimes it has to be done – and the sooner the better.

 

What Are the Signs of Alzheimer’s?

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

I’ve published numerous blog entries in which I refer to the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, so I thought I’d take a minute here and list those symptoms. The Alzheimer’s Association lists the following as signs of Alzheimer’s:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work and at leisure
  4. Confusion with time or place
  5. Difficulty understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing
  7. Losing things and the inability to retrace steps
  8. Decreased or poor judgment
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities
  10. Changes in mood and personality

The Alzheimer’s Association web site has additional information about each of these items and explains how they differ from things ‘normal people’ do from time to time.

What to Do When You Just Can’t Take it Anymore

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Sign up Your Loved One for Day Care: Enrolling your loved one in day care can do wonders to relieve your stress and give you some blessed time for yourself. You may worry that the person will be lost without you, but most people with Alzheimer’s adjust. If you can’t afford this on an ongoing basis, do it at least for a while.

Obtain Around the Clock Respite Care:  Around the clock respite care will give you even more time to yourself. You can have the person stay at a facility or with a friend, relative or neighbor. Again, if you can’t afford ongoing respite care, do it for a short period of time while you recharge your batteries.

Call in a Geriatric Care Manager: Geriatric Care Managers are health and human services specialists who help families caring for older relatives. They are trained and experienced in any of several fields related to care management.  You can read more about them and locate one in your area by going to the profession’s website.

Contact the Alzheimer’s Association: The Alzheimer’s Association website has ample advice for caregivers. It also has a 24/7 helpline manned by trained professionals (1.800.272.39001.800.272.3900.)

Contact the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America: This is another helpful resource for burned out caregivers. The Foundation offers counseling and advice Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM (Eastern Time) by phone, Skype, or live chat. You can reach the Foundation at 1.866.AFA.848411.866.AFA.84841.866.AFA.8484866.AFA.8484.

See a Psychotherapist: Nearly all overwhelmed caregivers could benefit from seeing a therapist. Therapists can help you better understand your situation and coach you on how to make time for yourself, as well as gain a better perspective of your caregiving duties. It’s a good idea to get a referral from a friend or relative. A few visits can help, even if you don’t have the funds for long-term therapy.

Visit with Your Pastor: If you regularly attend church, talking with your pastor can be a good substitute for psychotherapy. A pastor can help you with the same things therapists do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Resource for You: The Alzheimer’s Association Website

Friday, September 28th, 2012

The Alzheimer’s Association, the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research, has a wealth of helpful information for you on its web site (www.Alz.org). Check out the following parts of the web site that are relevant to caregiver stress:

1. Caregiver Stress Checklist and Resources (www.alz.org/stresscheck/): This is an 8-question quiz to help you evaluate your stress level. For each symptom you answer “yes” to, the site directs you to helpful resources tailored specifically to that symptom.

Just a few of the 19 resources are: a Respite Care Guide, Ways to Be a Healthier Caregiver, Talking to Kids and Teens about Alzheimer’s, Grief and Loss, and Telling Others about an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis.

2. Coping (www.alz.org/living_with_alzheimers_coping.asp): This section explains some common physical and emotional changes experienced by Alzheimer’s caregivers and ways to cope. It also has brief articles about managing the holidays and caregiver depression.

3. Online Community (www.alz.org/living_with_alzheimers_message_boards_lwa.asp): The Online Community has more than a dozen Message Board Forums with over 14,000 registered members. One of the forums’ most important benefits is simply letting caregivers share their experiences with others in the same situation.

A few of the Forum topics of particular relevance for caregivers are: Caregiver’s Forum, Spouse/Partner Caregiver Forum, Caregivers Who Have Lost Their Loved Ones, and Success Stories.

 

Alzheimer’s Caregivers: Resources for You

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

The Alzheimer’s Association, the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research, has a wealth of helpful information for you on its web site (www.Alz.org). Check out the following parts of the web site that are relevant to caregiver stress:

1. Caregiver Stress Checklist and Resources (www.alz.org/stresscheck/): This is an 8-question quiz to help you evaluate your stress level. For each symptom you answer “yes” to, the site directs you to helpful resources tailored specifically to that symptom.

Just a few of the 19 resources are: a Respite Care Guide, Ways to Be a Healthier Caregiver, Talking to Kids and Teens about Alzheimer’s, Grief and Loss, and Telling Others about an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis.

2. Coping (www.alz.org/living_with_alzheimers_coping.asp): This section explains some common physical and emotional changes experienced by Alzheimer’s caregivers and ways to cope. It also has brief articles about managing the holidays and caregiver depression.

3. Online Community (www.alz.org/living_with_alzheimers_message_boards_lwa.asp): The Online Community has more than a dozen Message Board Forums with over 14,000 registered members. One of the forums’ most important benefits is simply letting caregivers share their experiences with others in the same situation.

A few of the Forum topics of particular relevance for caregivers are: Caregiver’s Forum, Spouse/Partner Caregiver Forum, Caregivers Who Have Lost Their Loved Ones, and Success Stories.