When you’re the primary caregiver for a person with Alzheimer’s, no one else in the family will truly understand what you’re going through.
In families where there is good will, conflicts can typically be worked through for the common good. Some general strategies include:
- Sharing responsibilities among family members
- Meeting regularly to discuss care issues
- Being honest in discussions
- Not being critical of each other
- Joining a support group for Alzheimer’s caregivers
- Seeking family counseling if needed
However, in families where people didn’t get along well before the diagnosis, it can create nightmares, especially for the primary caregiver. Here are some additional things you can try:
Be Patient and Understand Where They’re Coming from: Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and understand why they lack knowledge of the situation. If you can stay calm you’ll have a better chance of decreasing stressful interactions.
Educate Your Relatives about the Patient’s Condition: It can help if you make very detailed lists of the person’s dementia symptoms and behaviors and share them with other family members. Remember, they’ve never seen the person do many things you see on a daily basis, so put down even the smallest details. Update and share these lists frequently.
Have Other Family Members Care for the Patient for Awhile: The best way to let other family members get a better understanding of the loved one’s condition is to have them take care of the person for a while. Ideally, this would be for a week or two while you go on vacation, not just for an afternoon while you’re at a movie. Almost anyone can deal with a person with demented for a few hours. Let them take care of the person for a couple of weeks and you may find you’re being criticized less and appreciated more.