10 Simple Tips
1) Start with a Good Feeling Each Day
|Caregivers have a profound influence on the emotional state of individuals with Alzheimer’s|
2) Enjoy Reminiscence Therapy
|“Reminiscence Therapy” in dementia takes advantage of strong long-term memories in people with early or mid-stage dementia. Steering clear of short-term memories and reinvigorating long-term memories in Alzheimer’s patients takes advantage of powerful and emotional ties to the past.|
3) Communicate More
|1. Center yourself. As soon as you start to get upset or frustrated, stop and concentrate on taking deep, slow breaths while focusing on something that makes you feel calm and collected||2. Use empathy. Using empathy to connect includes focusing on the experience of your loved one with memory loss. It is important to connect with their feelings, rather than the context of their words.
|3.Ask open questions. Use open-ended questions to redirect the conversation and to show that you’re interested in exploring what is important to them. For example, if your loved one is insisting on visiting their deceased mother, rather than reminding them that she passed away, ask her to tell you about her mother and listen with empathy as she expresses her feelings|
|5. Enter their reality. Unless your loved one is in the very early stage of memory loss and wants to be reminded of a date, time or other reality based topic, join their journey rather than force reality on them.
|4. Try asking the extreme. Asking the extreme means that you ask the person to tell you the best or worst thing about what they are expressing.
4) Add Bright Lights
|A down-to-earth Alzheimer’s trial provided 4 weeks of tailored light therapy.
The therapy significantly increased sleep quality,efficiency & total sleep duration. Daytime light therapy also significantly reduced rates of depression & agitation.
5) Prepare Midnight Munchies
|People living with dementia often have the need to be awake at night. This can cause great concern for safety issues for caregivers. Ie: about falls, leaving the house
A facility in NY found the solution. Giving a nutritious snack allowed the person to calm and relax and return to bed
6) Ask Medication Questions
|People with Alzheimer’s take a lot of medicine. Some boost memory and cognition. Others help mood, behavior and other conditions. Ensure medication is taken safely and correctly!
|Learn the Basics
Know each medicine (prescription & over-the-counter).
Ask the doctor or pharmacist:
1) Why is this medicine being used?
2) What positive effects should I look for? When?
3) How long will the person need to take it?
4) How much should he or she take each day?
5) When does the person need to take it?
6) What if the person misses a dose?
7) What are the side effects? What can I do about them?
8) Can this medicine cause problems if taken with other medications?
7) Diet Right
Dr. James Duke, former U.S. Department of Agriculture(USDA) Chief of Medicinal Plant Research.
A diet that keep your heart healthy will also keep your brain healthy. Many Doctors, Dieticians and Scientists recommend a Mediterranean diet.
· Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
· Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
· Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
· Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
· Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
· Enjoying meals with family and friends
· Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)
· Getting plenty of exercise
There is also growing evidence that the use of Rosemary can have to same benefits of the drug Aricept. It has several antioxidants that prevent the breakdown of the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, that is crucial to send messages from nerve cell to another.
8) Air Out that Guilt
Dr. Peter Rabins, Author, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins Hospital:
Caregiving for people with chronic diseases is challenging no matter what the illness. One of the unique aspects of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease is that caregivers almost always feel guilty in some way. Here are some suggestions to help
|1) Recognize You Are Doing the Best You Can
2) Understand that Changes in Behavior are Part of the Disease
3) Develop Realistic Expectations
4) Modify Expectations as the Disease Progresses
5) Accept New Behaviors and the Loss of Social Skills
6) 6) Remember: Caregiving is About Love
9) Care for Yourself to Care for Them
|Take care of yourself. it is one of the most important things to do as a caregiver.
Ask family members or friends to help out, do things you enjoy, use adult day care services, or get help from a local healthcare agency. These actions can bring some relief. It also may help keep from getting ill or depressed
9 Ways You Can Take Care of Yourself
1) Ask for help when you need it.
2) Join a caregivers’ support group.
3) Take breaks each day.
4) Spend time with friends.
5) Keep up with your hobbies and interests.
6) Eat healthy foods.
7) Get exercise as often as you can.
8) See your doctor on a regular basis.
9)Keep your health, legal, and financial information up-to-date.
10) When You Tried Your Best,
Know You Did the Best.
Adapted from National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health
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