When you have a senior parent with Alzheimer’s it can take quite a toll emotionally.
Becoming a caregiver to a parent is difficult, but dealing with the symptoms of Alzheimer’s related dementia can be even more difficult. Sometimes you will see new symptoms start to appear slowly and other times you won’t even see them coming until some new behavior presents itself. The first time that you hear your senior parent with dementia refer to you as a niece or a nephew instead of a daughter or son is rough. So is seeing in their eyes that they don’t recognize you. Homecare agencies are available to help you out when you need some respite time to recoup.
When you’re having trouble coping with the symptoms of Alzheimer’s that your senior loved one is displaying you should:
Take A Break
It’s absolutely essential that you take regular breaks as a caregiver. In-home care providers can make sure that your senior parents are safe and comfortable so that you can give yourself a day or a few days or a week off when you need it. Respite care from an in-home caregiver will give you the time and space you need to process your emotions about your senior loved one’s condition and do the things that you need to do to keep your own life running.
Talk To People Who Can Relate
Professional counseling can help you work through your feelings about your elderly parent’s condition but you can also get help and support from caregiver groups. In-person or online caregiver groups can give you a safe space to vent, blow off steam, cry, and let yourself feel all the emotions that caregiving can break up. Having the friendship and camaraderie of other caregivers can make a big difference in how you cope with the day-to-day struggles of caregiving.
Focus On The Moments of Joy
As your senior parent’s Alzheimer’s progresses you will notice that your parent doesn’t have a sense of linear time anymore. Instead, they see the world moment by moment and they are always living in the current moment. They won’t remember if you saw them the day before, but their eyes and smile will light up when you walk into the room no matter when it is. They may not be able to tell if you are their child or another relative but they will know that you love them. Focus on just making each moment special for them and not worrying about the bigger picture. Take each moment as it comes and try to make each one great.
Take Photos and Videos
When you have a senior loved one that has a progressive disease like Alzheimer’s time is the one thing you do not have. Take as many photos and videos as you can. Save voicemails or recordings. Someday when your parent is gone a voicemail or video of them saying your name or telling you that they love you will be priceless and precious. Get all the big moments, and the little ones too, on tape so that you will have them forever.
Homecare providers can help tremendously when working with a senior with Alzheimer’s. Call a homecare agency today to see what services they offer.