When you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s, it’s only natural to want to make their life easier however you can. Alzheimer’s is also a complex condition, and being involved with the care of a loved one can feel intimidating if you aren’t sure what is needed. Learning some tips for how to help someone with Alzheimer’s is a great place to start.
Learning to Provide Compassionate Support for Seniors with Alzheimer’s and Age-Related Memory Conditions
Focus on Routine
One of the problematic aspects of Alzheimer’s is that the cognitive issues it creates can make it challenging for seniors to meet their daily needs. You can help them stay on track by sticking to a routine. If meals and other activities happen predictably, it can help seniors with Alzheimer’s feel grounded and stay engaged in their day-to-day lives. Try to stick to a regular schedule for events like meals and bedtimes, and include a few routine activities your senior loved one will look forward to.
Respect Their Autonomy
When you see someone you love having a difficult time with a task that used to be a simple one, it’s only natural to want to help them out. However, it’s important to remember that people with Alzheimer’s benefit from having a sense of control over their lives. Approach caretaking with a collaborative attitude for the best results:
- Give your senior loved one quiet time and private spaces they can retreat to throughout the day. Respect their personal space.
- Let your senior loved one do the things they can do, even if they need extra time to complete them. If you need to tag in and help with a daily task, communicate clearly with your senior loved one by explaining exactly what you will do and offering them input where possible.
- Help your loved one make choices by providing specific options for them. Instead of saying, “Which shirt would you like to wear today,” you can say, “Would you like to wear your red sweater or green one?”
- Seniors can have a complicated emotional experience as they cope with Alzheimer’s. You might want to encourage them to stay positive, but letting them share their experience is essential. Listen and validate their feelings, and offer compassionate support.
Keep Enjoying Life Together
Believe it or not, having fun with your loved one is as important as helping them meet their other needs. It can be challenging for seniors with Alzheimer’s to stay active, but enjoyable daily activities can make a positive difference in their mental and physical health:
- Build “mini-activities” into your routine, like a daily walk around the block. Short periods of activity throughout the day can make movement more achievable.
- If your senior loved one has active hobbies like cooking and gardening, look for ways to adapt them so they can still participate. If you aren’t sure how, the internet is full of advice.
- Sometimes a senior loved one with an age-related memory problem needs more help staying active than a home caretaker can provide. If you’re looking for an environment where seniors with Alzheimer’s can stay active and thrive, a memory care community might be the right fit.
Are you a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia? Understanding how to help a loved one with an age-related memory condition can feel challenging, but don’t worry. If you focus on meeting your loved one where they’re at and helping them get their needs met in a kind and understanding way, learning how to help someone with Alzheimer’s is easier than you might think.
Are you seeking an assisted living, memory care, or physician-directed nursing community in Kansas City? Check out The Piper. Our team of experienced and compassionate professionals ensures that residents feel secure and comfortable immediately. At our warm and welcoming community, which is truly a “home within a home,” we foster social interaction, engagement, and the right amount of care. Our residents always come first. To learn more about our services or to schedule a tour, please call us at 913-361-5136 or contact us online.