How You Can Help A Family Member With Alzheimer’s


Alzheimer’s is truly one of the most distressing diseases that can befall anybody. One of the often-overlooked aspects of Alzheimer’s disease is the burden it places on the family members of the patient, who are in many cases, his or her primary caregivers. As the disease advances and your family member shows worsening problems to do with language, orientation, mood, and behavior, your loved one’s needs will increase and your caregiving responsibilities will put an extra strain on you. Furthermore, it is also emotionally taxing to see the person you once knew slowly fade away and turn into a shadow of their former self. 

This article will discuss 4 important ways in which you can help a family member with Alzheimer’s to cope with their disease and live the happiest possible life.

Develop a Daily Routine

For someone undergoing drastic changes to their cognitive abilities, sudden changes can be frightening and can induce stress, fear, and confusion. Experts who provide supervised care for Alzheimer’s patients explain that you should keep things simple and try to develop a daily routine. This includes asking or saying one thing at a time, scheduling bathing and medical appointments when the person is most refreshed. Nevertheless, remember to make room for flexibility to stimulate the patient’s senses or help them through particularly difficult days. 

Always Show Empathy

Care starts with love, empathy, and compassion. As a family member of a patient with Alzheimer’s, you should try to walk in your loved ones’ shoes before judging them for their worst behaviors. Imagine not being able to remember the date, the people around you, or even your own identity. Try to understand that for your loved one, even the simplest tasks are seemingly insurmountable. Knowing what your loved ones are able to do will improve your patience, relieve you of unnecessary stress, and enable you to find solace and enjoyment in your loved one’s presence. At the same time, remember to avoid saying things that will put them down such as “Did you forget? Try to remember!” Making them feel challenged or humiliated will only worsen their condition. Instead, try to avoid becoming frustrated in front of the patient; when you are frustrated, you can walk off the scene or go let off the stress with another family member so it’s not bottled up inside you.

Involve the Person as Much as Possible

Remember that an Alzheimer’s patient is still capable of doing much more than you think, and allowing them to take care of themselves will help maintain their cognitive abilities and give you a little breathing room. You should try to let them independently carry out their daily routine as much as they can. For example, let them set their own plates before meals or ask them to pick one of two shirts when they go out for a walk. In any case, your instructions or questions should be as simple and as clear as possible. At the same time, keep engaging the person in any conversation you have. Use simpler sentences and speak slowly so they can understand you.

Keep Them Safe

One of the most important things you need to keep in mind when taking care of a family member with Alzheimer’s is their safety. You should keep dangerous items like matches, lighters, and knives out of reach. Locks should be installed on cabinets with any item that could be dangerous such as medicine, guns, and toxic substances. Even when helping them take a bath, make sure you check that the water temperature is not too hot. Elderly people with Alzheimer’s may also need assistance when walking so as to avoid any risk of a bad fall. Overall, you need to really pay attention to keeping them safe by being extra vigilant at all times.

Plan Outdoor Activities

Spending some time outdoors will be good for both the person with Alzheimer’s and yourself. You can simply take a trip to the park, take a short walk, go to a café, or take part in any other outdoor activity that is easy to plan and interesting for both of you. This can be a great way to relieve stress and take time to enjoy yourselves together.

These are some areas of help you can give to a family member with Alzheimer’s. Everyone’s case is different, and even with the same disease, some people will experience different symptoms and degeneration. You should always tailor these tips to better suit your family member’s needs, and remember to ask for help, and take a break for yourself when it becomes too much to handle.