Blog Post 2012

Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia

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By VHA
Forgetful women with a string on her finger

Alzheimer’s and Dementia are both diseases that involve memory loss and changes in behaviour & abilities that worsen over time. Caring for a parent or loved one with either disease can be a challenge and seem overwhelming.

Here are some tips from a caregiver who provides care for her mom who suffers from dementia.

  • Plan ahead. You need to know where the person is going to live and how they’ll be cared for as the disease progresses. Although everyone will experience the disease progression differently, it’s very important to understand the different stages and to know what to expect so that you can make decisions for the future. For example, will you have long term care or home care? Although it can be difficult to discuss what’s going to happen as the disease worsens, it’s important to know what your loved one wants and will need later on down the road.
  • Explore different care options. Connecting with different agencies within the community can help you with care and provide various programs for your loved one. Examples of available programs are Help at Home or Adult Day Programs, etc.
  • Seek out caregiver relief. As with any type of caregiving it’s important to factor in relief for the caregiver in order to avoid burnout. VHA is an example of an organization that offers caregiver relief services.
  • Stay consistent and provide structure. It’s important to develop and stick to a daily routine, especially if there are multiple caregivers. This can give a sense of security and reassurance to the person being cared for.
  • Join a caregiver support group. It often helps to connect with others experiencing the same challenges. Joining a support group for others who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s and sharing experiences with them can be very reassuring and useful.