What might work for one family might not work for another. Find ways that allow a balance of control and flexibility. Focus on care options such as day care, living arrangements, doctor visit schedules and routines that are ideal for your specific situation.
Step #3: Create strategies for everyday life
Developing coping strategies entails a few basic steps. Start off by making a list of the tasks that are becoming more challenging.
For some patients, it may be their memory. Or for others, it might be motor functioning. If you are struggling with memory, set reminders. In the case of dealing with a progressive loss of the motor function, lean on family and friends to help provide care for that particular task.
If you are a caregiver, prioritize tasks and chores. Don’t fret over tasks that aren’t necessary. Find a solution and a timeline that works for you and your loved one. Work together with your health care team to learn new tips that help you both get through the day with ease.
Step #4: Seek help and support
There is no shame in asking for help. If you are facing an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, you may feel like you are a burden to family and friends. But it’s important that you prioritize your needs and continue to reach out when you need help.
If you are a caregiver, remember that compromised independence is not an easy development to deal with. Allow yourself time to accept the circumstances. Find ways to help your loved one put her needs first.
Step #5: Live life fully
It is not easy to live with an illness. Nor is it easy to be the caregiver of someone you love with an illness. It’s quite possible though to make choices that strengthen your mental health. Try the following:
- Set realistic goals and stay true to your expectations. Learn to take things one at a time, especially difficult tasks. Remind yourself it’s OK to ask for help and support when you need it.
- Establish a daily routine. Make a list for tasks that need to be accomplished to help you save time and be efficient.
- Avoid overburdening yourself with extra work. Give yourself time to complete one task at a time. Focus on finishing one thing rather than rushing on multiple things.
- Recognize your stress triggers and search for ways to overcome them. We all have different triggers that lead us to anxiety, depression and stress. When you are able to recognize them, you can work on ways to avoid them and/or better cope with them.
The bottom line
As a caregiver, supporting a patient with Alzheimer’s disease can be exhausting. But also as a caregiver, it’s important to keep in mind how much more exhausting it is for your loved one who is suffering from the ailment.
If you are facing this disease, you will likely experience a variety of overwhelming symptoms and progressions. Remember that there are many steps to help cope with Alzheimer’s and that your quality of life can be improved. Having patience and flexibility is key.