Issues related to aging can add stress to even the most stable Minneapolis families. Taking turns caring for a senior after surgery, deciding who’s going to mow the lawn and who’s going to assist with doctor appointments and hiring elderly home care are all typical (yet time and energy consuming) tasks for Minnesota family caregivers. Adding behavioral changes related to Alzheimer’s and dementia can push families to the brink. Watch Laurie Owen from Home Instead Senior Care and Dr. Jane Potter from the University of Nebraska Medical Center discuss the lifestyle changes for patients with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.
“Regular communication – whether it’s by email or phone – is the single biggest key to helping families cope with Alzheimer’s disease,’’ said caregiving expert Dr. Amy D’Aprix, who developed Caring Cards exclusively for Home Instead Senior Care to engage families in meaningful communication. Here are 9 more tips from Dr. D’Aprix and the Home Instead Senior Care network to helping families stick together through the ups and downs of Alzheimer’s disease:
- Get an accurate diagnosis: Get several opinions, if necessary, to ensure that all family members, doctors and home health care professionals caring for your loved one know and understand the situation.
- Hold a family meeting: Often times, the main caregiver becomes the only person who has the important information needed to care for the person with Alzheimer’s. Gather family members together with a professional to ensure that everyone shares the same information and gets the resources they need.
- Learn to manage change: Dementias are ever-changing conditions. Find a support group in the Minneapolis or St. Paul area to share with others who are facing similar challenges.
- Learn skills and techniques: The behavioral changes that come with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias can be difficult to manage. The resources of the e-learning Family Caregiver Training can help. Find memory activities and puzzles here.
- Ask the primary caregiver if they need help: The main day-to-day caregiver can harbor resentment towards others who they feel should be doing more. Look at what needs to be done and ask the primary caregiver how you can give them respite.
- Assign tasks: Family members who live out of town can still help with things like finances. Make a list of all that needs to be done and form an online care team to allow others to help.
- Ask for help if you’re the primary caregiver: Are you the only one of your siblings in Minneapolis who lives by your parent? Or maybe you’re the oldest daughter and everyone expects you to be the caregiver. Whatever the circumstance, caregivers of seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias shouldn’t try to go it alone. (Hint…see tip #6)
- Preserve memories: Create a video of your loved one with Alzheimer’s telling stories about their lives or design a shadow box of keepsakes. Make sure to read next month’s blog from Home Instead Senior Care of Minneapolis for more information!
- Tap into local Minneapolis resources: Families can’t have too much information when it comes to managing the behavioral changes of Alzheimer’s disease. Contact a Home Instead CAREgiver who has received special training to care for those with all types of dementias.
Dr. Amy D’Aprix also prepared content for the Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Dementias Training Program called CARE which stands for Changing Aging Through Research and EducationSM. Programs like these as well as the online Family Caregiver Alzheimer’s Training were developed exclusively for Home Instead Senior Care and FREE to you!
Each e-learning class in the Family Caregiver Alzheimer’s Training program can be completed within 5–15 minutes and include:
- Understanding Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias
- Capturing Life’s Journey
- Managing Behaviors
- Encouraging Engagement
To begin your free online training immediately, simply click here and “Like” our Facebook page.
As a Fan of our Facebook page, you’ll have access to special opportunities and resources such as this training that we offer throughout the year. Already a Fan? Click here and get Family Caregiver Alzheimer’s Training now!