Caregiver Tips

Tips for Caregivers

Read THE BLUE BOOK – A Practical Guide for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

One of the most overlooked persons is the caregiver — you need to take care of yourself!!

Tips for the in-home caregiver

Home caregiver’s first demand is to learn to manage time well

1. Set up a list of reasonable priorities. Learn to cut corners on housework, and don’t feel guilty about what doesn’t get done.

2. Organize your work; make lists!

3. Keep supplies you use often, in or near the patient’s room.

4. Keep a pad of paper and pencil with your supplies, so you can jot down items that need to be replaced, as you think of them.

5. Learn to delegate as many jobs as you can to someone else, including family, friends, neighbors or a hired person (for example, hire a neighbor’s child to do the yard work).

As the Primary caregiver, you must make every effort to do the following for yourself

1. Take care of your physical health.

2. Get lots of rest.

3. Take time to review your daily goals. Are they realistic?

4. Eat balanced meals and eat regularly.

5. Sleep!

6. Don’t give up your outside interests.

Caregiver’s Bill of Rights – I have the right …

1. To take care of myself! This is not an act of selfishness. It will give me the capability to take better care of my relative.

2. To seek help from others in providing care, even though my relative may object. I recognize the limits of my own endurance and strength.

3. To maintain facets of my own life that do not include the person I care for, just as I would if he or she were healthy. I know I do everything I reasonably can for this person, and I have the right to do some things for myself.

4. To occasionally get angry, be depressed, and express other difficult feelings.

5. To reject any attempt by my relative (either consciously or unconsciously) to manipulate me through guilt, anger, or depression.

6. To ask for consideration, affection, and forgiveness from my loved one for what I do, for as long as I offer these qualities in return.

7. To take pride in what I am accomplishing and to applaud the courage it has sometimes taken to meet the needs of my relative.

8. To protect my individuality and my right to make a life for myself, that will sustain me in the time when my relative no longer needs my full-time help.

Communication

Trying to communicate with a person who has Alzheimer’s disease can be a challenge.

First and foremost, do not argue with them. They are in their own world – their own reality. Go along with what they say (or say you’ll check into “their concern”). That doesn’t mean you have to “act” on it (because they’ll soon forget). “Divert” them if they request something (or want to go somewhere) that doesn’t really make sense. Trying to reason is fruitless.

Choose simple words and short sentences and use a gentle, calm tone of voice.

Avoid talking to the person with AD like you would a child or someone without common sense. Their minds are sharp in many ways.

Don’t say, “You already asked that,” or “You already told me that.” They simply don’t remember.

Minimize distractions and noise (TV or radio) to help the person focus on what you are saying. Call the person by name, making sure you have his or her attention before speaking.

Allow enough time for a response. Try not to interrupt.

Don’t talk in front of the person as if he or she weren’t there. Although some of the things they do and say aren’t normal, they still have “feelings” and do understand a lot.

It is difficult for them to “choose” when asked for a decision. Their minds are scattered. Rather, ask, “Would you like this to eat? (or this to wear?), etc.”

If the person with AD is struggling to find a word or communicate a thought, nicely try to provide the word he or she is looking for.

Important! — Do reverse roles. How would you like to be treated if you were in their shoes?