Even though you suspected your parent’s Alzheimer’s disease for quite some time, hearing it from the doctor can make you feel sick. No one wants his or her parent to deal with this age-related disease, but as many as 5 million Americans over the age of 65 years old suffer from it.
The reality is that it’s something not only the person with the diagnosis has to deal with, but the caretaker as well. This is usually a family member, which can make things even more difficult.
If you’re faced with this situation now, there some things you can do to make it easier to deal with, so you can be an effective caregiver to your parent.
Give Yourself Time
Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t mean your time with your parent is very short. The prognosis depends on age and the severity of the disease. The doctor can tell you more about how long your parent has to live. In many cases, there are 10 to 15 more years, with the final years being the most difficult.
Allow yourself to let the reality sink in. Understand that this is an age-related disease, and that there’s nothing anyone could have done to prevent it. Be good to yourself, and make sure to care for your health and well-being during this difficult time.
Learn About the Alzheimer’s Diagnosis
Many people have an idea about Alzheimer’s disease, but they don’t know all about it. It’s good to be informed as much as possible because many of the things that people fear are not as much of a concern as they believe.
There are many resources online that can help you after receiving a Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
National Institute of Aging – This website has a great deal of information about seniors. There’s a special section for Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s Association – This another valuable resource for people wanting to learn about the disease.
Alzheimers.gov – This site is specifically for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
As you learn about the disease, you’ll realize there are still many activities you can do with your loved one. There’s a wonderful book that I just found, Activities to do with Your Parent who has Alzheimer’s Dementia by Ed. M., OTR, Judith A. Levy. This can help you put things into perspective and realize that the time you have now with your loved one can be just as good as it was when he or she wasn’t dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.
Taking care of a parent can feel overwhelming. With all of the emotional and mental grief along with physical help you’ll provide as the disease takes its course, you’ll need extra support. Allow your family members and friends to help you. You don’t have to do it all on your own. You deserve to have others care for you and your parent, as much as you feel it’s your responsibility.
Consider home care options for your parent. This will make it easier for you to continue your life while knowing your loved one is being cared for properly.
It’s also important to have someone to talk to through everything you’re dealing with, such as a personal consultant. As a licensed marriage and family therapist, I’ve worked with many seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and their loved ones. Now, I offer my services as a personal consultant online. It can be such a relief to speak to someone who understands and can help you untangle all of the thoughts that have been flooding your mind. Contact me today for more information on how I can help you through this time in your life.