The Patient's Family:
At the Brain Health Center we want you to feel confident that continuous on-going support and care is being provided not just for your loved one with memory loss, but for all the caregivers involved.
The Care Navigation Team is available to you whenever you need resources, education, advice or emotional support.
Here are some helpful suggestions on your daily interaction with your loved one suffering with memory loss.
A person with Alzheimer's or other dementia doesn't have to give up the activities that he or she loves. Many activities can be modified to the person's ability. In addition to enhancing quality of life, activities can reduce behaviors like wandering or agitation.
When planning activities, keep these things in mind about your loved one:
- His/her skill set
- Activities that are enjoyable to him/her
- Physical limitations
- Whether activities require direction, or your supervision
Adjust activities to the time of day and stage of the disease. Remember to focus on enjoyment, encouragement and your loved one's favorite past times. Always be patient and supportive, offering comfort. Avoid criticism, correcting and arguing.
Changes in the ability to communicate are unique to each person with Alzheimer's. In the early stages of dementia, the person's communication may not seem very different or he or she might repeat stories or not be able to find a word. As the disease progresses, a caregiver may recognize other changes, such as:
- Using familiar words repeatedly or inventing new words or reverting back to a native language
- Easily losing his or her train of thought
- Having difficulty organizing words logically and speaking less often
Care for Yourself
As a caregiver, it is important to take time for yourself so that you will be a better caregiver for your loved one. The best thing you can do for the person you are caring for is to stay physically and emotionally strong:
- See your doctor
- Exercise regularly
- Eat well
Everyone needs a break. Respite Care provides a temporary rest for you from caregiving, while your loved one with Alzheimer's continues to receive care in a safe environment. Using Respite Care services can support and strengthen your ability to be a caregiver.
Alzheimer's disease is life-changing for both those who are diagnosed and those close to them. Various types of supportive care services are available to you:
- Adult Day Centers
- In-Home Care
- Residential Care
- Respite Care
- Hospice Care
Plan the Future
It's important for everyone to plan for the future, but legal plans are especially important for a person with Alzheimer's disease. The sooner you assist your loved one in his/her planning, the more the person with dementia may be able to participate.
Making legal plans in advance is important for several reasons: Early planning allows the person with dementia to be involved and express his or her wishes for future care and decisions. This eliminates guesswork for families, and allows for the person with dementia to designate decision makers on his or her behalf.
Early planning also allows time to work through the complex legal and financial issues that are involved in long-term care. Legal planning should include:
- Making plans for health care and long-term care
- Making plans for finances and property
- Naming another person to make decisions on behalf of the person with dementia
The requirements of legal capacity can vary from one document to another, but a lawyer can help determine what level of legal capacity is required for a person to sign a particular document.
Steps should be taken before a person with dementia signs a legal document. Always talk with the person and find out if the person with dementia understands what and why they are signing a document. If there is a question whether someone does or does not understands the document, seek medical advice before having a person sign anything.
For more information on legal planning, visit the Alzheimer's Association. Opens new window
Caring for a loved one with memory loss can be challenging and stressful. Here is some helpful information for caregivers.
- The Art of Being Resourceful
- Armchair Quarterbacks
- Taking Care of the Caregiver
- Tips for Caregivers
- Tips for Communicating with a Person with Dementia
For special concerns, please contact the Care Navigation Team by calling 415-600-5555.