Education and Care - 12 Ways to Boost Caregiver Success

Alzheimer's Foundation of America

  1. Educate yourself about the disease. Read books, attend workshops and consult with healthcare professionals.

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

  3. Understand the experience of your loved one. Adjust your expectations. Be patient and kind.

  4. Avoid caregiver burnout. Make time for yourself. Join caregiver support groups. Pursue interests beyond your caregiving role, such as exercise, hobbies, journaling and art.

  5. Maintain your own physical and mental health. Exercise, respite and other activities can reduce stress. Seek medical help if there are signs of depression.

  6. Discuss the situation with family and friends. Support systems are critical.

  7. Do cognitive stimulation activities with your loved one. Listening to music, word puzzles and memory games can easily be done at home.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Think positive. Focus on your loved one's remaining strengths and enjoy your relationship while you are still able to.

  12. Reach out for care. Call the Alzheimer's Foundation of America—866.AFA.8484, for counseling, information and referrals to local resources nationwide.

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