If you are considering stepping up to the plate to care for an elderly friend or family member with Alzheimer’s disease, you may be wondering if you have what it takes for the job. Being a caregiver requires that you have some pretty big shoes to fill (caregivers are some of the most selfless, caring people on the planet).
Here are some of the necessary qualities other caregivers have identified as necessary for the caregiving role;
1.Be a good listener. You may think you know what’s best for your loved one with AD, but it’s vital that caregivers keep in mind the fact that your loved one is an adult who is entitled to have his/her opinion and needs heard. While you may not always be able to accommodate each need, it’s important to take a stab at it and do your best.
2.Have respect for the independence of your loved one. When seniors become physically or psychologically unable to care for themselves, it’s important they are allowed to continue to perform any tasks they are still able to tackle. If this means providing supervision when mom is in the kitchen to ensure safety, then so be it. Refrain from stepping in to do all the cooking when she is still willing and able to do her part.
3.Practice patience. At each stage of Alzheimer’s disease there may be new challenges for caregivers and family members. Try to simply observe what is happening before reacting and/or making decisions.
4.Be encouraging. A positive attitude goes a long way as a caregiver. A good strategy is to encouraging your loved one to do new things and meet daily goals and then step in to help only when necessary.
5.Adapt the living space to meet the safety needs of your loved one, while keeping it as comfortable and homey as possible. Be sure to incorporate his/her personal items such as family photos and other treasured items, particularly when your loved one’s needs have progressed to requiring a structured living environment.
6.Make safety a priority. Invest in a home medical alert system or other technology that will help you keep him/her safe.
7.Stay as organized as possible. Keep medical and financial records in order and use a chart to record daily, weekly and monthly activities as well as physician appointments and special events.
8.Take time to care for yourself. As in any job, taking some much needed time off is vital to maintaining a positive attitude and avoiding burn out. Caregivers who stay on top of their game when it comes to asking for help are more equipped to go the long haul.
Learn more about what it takes to become a good caregiver by joining our free 25 lesson course at AlzU.org CLICK HERE to join today.