When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, no two patients are alike. As the disease progresses, the needs of your loved one will change, and learning how to accept their needs is vital to ensure they are living life to the fullest.
In order to fully accept the needs of your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, you need to recognize that you, as the caregiver, will also face changes to your own life. Many caregivers will experience a sense of loss and feelings of grief after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, realizing that life for their loved one will never be the same. Accepting the diagnosis and learning as much as you can about what lies ahead will allow you to be the best possible caregiver for your loved one.
Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease
Allow yourself a chance to go through the stages of grief after your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. These stages include:
1) Denial: You’ll try to convince yourself that your loved one will not change and hope that they will get better.
2) Anger: You may start to resent the fact that you have to provide the care giving and get frustrated with your loved one’s changing behavior.
3) Guilt: You might feel like you’re failing as a caregiver and not providing the best care possible, or feel like you could be doing more for your loved one.
4) Sadness: Withdrawing from social activities and getting depressed are common among caregivers.
5) Acceptance: In this final stage, you’ll be able to accept the fact that your loved one’s life, as well as your own life, has changed, but you can still grow and find pleasure in your days left with your loved one.
It’s important for caregivers to allow themselves a chance to go through the grieving process so they can face their anger and frustration and learn to accept and acknowledge their feelings, as well as begin to accept the needs of their loved one. Going through these stages will ultimately allow you to move forward and provide the best care giving for your loved one.
Alzheimer’s disease is frightening for the patient and the caregiver alike. Not knowing what each day may bring presents unique challenges to all those involved. As the disease advances, your loved one’s needs will change. Caregivers need to recognize that their loved one will start to lose certain skills and will never regain them. An Alzheimer’s patient may experience personality and mood changes, become confused, and of course, their memories will start to fade. By planning for these inevitable changes, caregivers can manage their loved ones needs and be able to make decisions regarding future care.
While there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, learning as much as you can about treatments and accepting the diagnosis will help you through what will probably be a difficult time. It is still possible to find joy in the time you have with your loved one.
For more information about memory care at American Senior Communities, please visit www.ascseniorcare.com.