Being an Alzheimer’s caregiver can be a stressful job, especially when you work so hard to take better care of your loved ones.
As the disease progresses, the situation can get worse and cause even more anxiety and frustration.
Want to learn how you, as a caregiver, can relieve this stress and tackle the challenges that follow Alzheimer’s?
Stream the latest episode of Retirement Revealed to learn about Alzheimer’s caregiving — or scroll down to read the FAQ section below!
In this episode, Jeremy Keil speaks with Marty Schreiber, an Alzheimer’s caregiver for 18 years, and Mary Ann Clairday, a senior consultant at My Two Elaines.
They work to clear the ignorance around Alzheimer’s and share strategies to help caregivers avoid common pitfalls and improve the health and well-being of both themselves and their loved ones.
- How to overcome the emotional challenges of transferring your loved ones to a long-term care facility
- Ways to use music to remain deeply connected with an Alzheimer’s patient
- Why every case varies significantly in terms of the disease progression rate
- Tactics for dealing with a patient’s constant desire to get out of the long-term care facility
- Key advantages of therapeutic fibbing
- And more
Tune in now to learn more about fighting Alzheimer’s as a caregiver: LINK
Most Frequently Asked Questions by an Alzheimer’s Caregiver
1. Do I absolutely need to transfer my loved one to a long-term care facility?
After the disease progresses to a certain stage, yes.
We understand that it can be emotionally overwhelming to let someone else take care of your loved ones on a daily basis. But taking care of them by yourself at home can get increasingly challenging.
This can affect your own physical and mental health, ultimately leading to caregiver fatigue.
Plus, there are experienced social workers and health professionals at long-term care facilities who can make this transition easier –– providing the best possible care to your loved ones.
2. What is a great way to remain deeply connected with an Alzheimer’s patient?
It is common for Alzheimer’s patients to stop recognizing their loved ones past a certain stage.
Having experienced this himself, Marty says that singing to Elaine has helped him remain deeply connected with her. He believes that it isn’t necessary for her to know who he is for their hearts to touch.
The next time you visit your loved ones, sing familiar songs and melodies to them. It can bring great comfort and happiness to both of you.
3. For how long does an Alzheimer’s patient remain well aware of their diagnosis?
It varies for every individual.
According to Marty, it can generally vary from five to seven years. After the early onset, the disease can progress at different rates for each patient.
To track this progression, patients are often asked to take a quiz, involving a set of basic questions. (For instance: Who’s the president of the United States of America?)
The lower the score, the more the disease has progressed.
4. What to do when your loved one constantly asks to get out of the long-term care facility?
There are multiple ways to deal with this.
One way is through what Marty calls ‘therapeutic fibbing,’ which means you need to join their world. If they think today is Tuesday or the Cubs still haven’t won a World Series – there’s no reason to correct them! Simply reassure them that you understand their feelings and you’re doing your best to take care of them..
After validating their feelings, try to redirect to a different topic. Start looking at old pictures and reminisce about the happiest memories you share with them.
Finally, you can shift the blame to someone else. As a result, you won’t be a direct target of their frustration. For example, you can tell them that the doctors can’t let them leave the facility yet.
Remember, don’t argue, don’t get emotional, and acknowledge their feelings.
Make sure you also check out the resources below, which can simplify the process of Alzheimer’s caregiving for you and your loved ones.