Alzheimer Foundation of America

Caregiver

Tips

Daily Routines

Daily routines are sacred for most people. When caring for individuals with dementia, sticking to a routine is not only sacred, but a necessity.

Since change is difficult for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses, a structured schedule can meet two objectives: relieving caregiver stress and helping individuals maintain their abilities.

Tip of


    the Week

Learn caregiving techniques.

Learn caregiving techniques. Key areas are communication skills, safety concerns, and managing behavioral challenges and activities of daily living.

Alzheimer Foundation of America's Tips  

  1. Reach out for care. Call the Alzheimer's Foundation of America—866.AFA.8484, for counseling, information and referrals to local resources nationwide.
  2. Think positive. Focus on your loved one's remaining strengths and enjoy your relationship while you are still able to.
  3. Smile. Kindness, humor and creativity are essential parts of caregiving. Hugs, hand massage and other gentle physical contact will help your loved one feel connected and loved.
  4. Take care of financial, legal and long-term care planning issues. Try to involve your loved one in decision-making, if they are still capable of providing input, and consider their wishes related to future care and end-of-life issues.
  5. Foster communication with physicians. Be involved in your loved one's medical care. Ask questions about the progression of the disease, express concerns and discuss treatment options.
  6. Do cognitive stimulation activities with your loved one. Listening to music, word puzzles and memory games can easily be done at home.
  7. Discuss the situation with family and friends. Support systems are critical.
  8. Maintain your own physical and mental health. Exercise, respite and other activities can reduce stress. Seek medical help if there are signs of depression.
  9. Avoid caregiver burnout. Make time for yourself. Join caregiver support groups. Pursue interests beyond your caregiving role, such as exercise, hobbies, journaling and art.
  10. Understand the experience of your loved one. Adjust your expectations. Be patient and kind.
  11. Learn caregiving techniques. Key areas are communication skills, safety concerns, and managing behavioral challenges and activities of daily living.
  12. Educate yourself about the disease. Read books, attend workshops and consult with healthcare professionals.

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Q: My 78-year-old father is experiencing the early stages of dementia. What can I do to minimize his frustration?

A: First, be sure that your father has been thoroughly assessed by a physician and that he is properly diagnosed. In some cases, dementia symptoms are caused by a treatable medical condition. If your father has been diagnosed with a progressive (irreversible) dementia, continue to pay close attention to his behavior and his complaints—and report any changes to his doctor. The doctor may propose treatments that will have the effect of reducing feelings of frustration.

As a family caregiver, you will have many opportunities to manage his experience to help reduce frustration. It helps to stick to a daily schedule. Program...

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