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Compassionate Caregiver: Preparing Yourself for a Care Journey with a Senior with Alzheimer’s Disease

Compassionate Caregiver: Preparing Yourself for a Care Journey with a Senior with Alzheimer’s Disease

Caregiver in Calgary

Whether you have been a caregiver for your elderly parent for several years or are just getting started, hearing the doctor say that he has Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most upsetting and frightening things that can happen in your care journey. It can feel as though this single diagnosis completely changes everything that you planned for your own future as well as for the future of your care relationship with your aging parent. You may feel overwhelmed and like you do not know what to do next. When this situation happens, however, it is time to step back, let yourself process the information, and then take steps to prepare yourself for your new care journey with your loved one.

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Being a truly compassionate caregiver is about standing alongside your aging loved one throughout his aging process no matter where that journey takes him, and being willing to confront the challenges he faces along with him so that you can help him get through them in the best way possible. After a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, this means being prepared for a constantly changing, unpredictable path that will require patience, love, and perseverance to get through. With preparation, however, you can feel more confident that you are ready for this role.

Use these tips to help you prepare yourself for a caregiver journey with a senior who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease:

• Educate yourself. The old saying “knowledge is power” definitely applies here. Take the time to find out about the disease, including what stage your senior is currently in, his possible rate of progression, and the specific symptoms he is already facing. Consult with his doctor about the treatments that are available and do independent research so you can identify other possible treatments to discuss with his doctor so together you can create the course of care that is right for him;

• Involve him. Now is not the time to try to take over your parent’s life and start dealing with the disease and not the person. Most likely the diagnosis came at an early enough point in the disease that your parent still has at least some ability to make decisions, express opinions, and even understand his condition. Keeping him involved in his care bonds your relationship and makes your journey together more meaningful while also providing him with important mental stimulation;

• Show emotion. There is a difference between being strong for your senior and shutting down. Do not be afraid to show emotion starting at the earliest points in the journey so that your parent feels comfortable expressing his own emotions about the diagnosis and progression of the disease. Showing emotion now also prepares you to be able to emote in a healthy and beneficial way throughout the progression of the disease;

• Love him. Do not get so wrapped up in the idea of managing his disease that you forget about him as a person. Separate the disease and your parent in your mind so that you can continue showing your love, compassion, and nurturing even when difficult situations arise. This also enables you to create lasting memories you can cherish long after your care journey comes to an end.

If you or an aging loved one are looking for caregiver services in Calgary, contact the caring professionals at Qualicare Family HomeCare. Call today!