Out of 6.2 million Alzheimer’s and dementia patients in the US, 70 percent prefer to receive medical care at home rather than a nursing facility or hospital. Home care is an effective and affordable treatment option, and patients can lead happier, more independent lives for a longer period of time.
However, when a patient opts for Alzheimer home care, the caregiving responsibility often falls on family members, especially spouses. Along with managing their jobs, home and daily chores 24/7, 7-days-a-week caregiving responsibility can be physically and mentally challenging. Without proper support and guidance, this overwhelming journey can lead to caregiver’s burnout.
Experts believe that “care of Dementia is the care of both – the patient and the caregiver”. Just as the disease progresses differently with different individuals, the caregiving journey can vary from patient to patient. Therefore, every caregiver needs to maintain their personal physical and mental health and pay attention to their individual needs and the patient’s needs.
Seeking help & support along the caregiving journey is not a luxury; it is a necessity. In this article, we have mentioned some ways you can reduce some burden off your shoulders and make your caregiving experience as rewarding as it is challenging.
How To Stay Happy & Healthy While Caring For An Alzheimer’s Patient?
1. Prepare Yourself Mentally
Studies show that close caregiver relationships can be more beneficial than medical facility treatments for your loved one’s. However, if the caregiver is not emotionally and mentally prepared, it can get challenging for them and the patient. If your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, the first step a caregiver should take is to prepare themselves for the upcoming challenges. Following tips may help.
- Talk to the doctor – Have an in-depth discussion with your doctor. They will instruct you about the patient’s condition and help you devise a home-care plan.
- Join a support group – Sharing your experiences with other caregivers and listening to theirs is a great way to learn more about the disease. Being a part of a group where people are going through similar challenges can also give you a sense of belonging and is beneficial for your mental health.
- Educate yourself – Enroll on classes and workshops about Dementia care to get an insight into the disease. You can also conduct online research and learn more about scientific breakthroughs, mistakes to avoid, treatment, self-care etc.
2. Equip Your Living Space
Experts believe that the more safe a patient’s home is, the higher their quality of life. After educating yourself about the disease, a caregiver should focus on making their home suitable for the patient.
Declutter your home as frequently as possible, install handrails and grab bars in fall-prone areas such as the bathroom, stairs etc., to avoid falls. Matchsticks and lighters must be kept safely away, and you should ensure that your home has the necessary fire safety equipment installed. Keep Medicines, alcohol, guns, sharp tools in a locked closet.
3. Hire Home-Care Experts
Many home-healthcare companies offer specialized Alzheimer home care services. These healthcare providers are highly trained and compassionate individuals who can help you with various caregiving tasks. These services are versatile. Therefore you can avail a service plan that best suits your requirements. Some of the home care plans are-
- Holistic Alzheimer & Dementia
- Medication management
- Meal Management
- Personalized Care
- Daily living activities
4. Consider Moving To A Retirement Home
If your spouse is an Alzheimer’s patient and you have financial flexibility, retirement homes may be an ideal choice for you. These retirement homes are fully equipped with safety features, and the patient can receive expert care under supervision while the more active spouse can live independently on the same campus.
5. Tap Into Technology
There may not be a cure for Alzheimer’s yet, but modern technology can certainly make the caregiving process a lot easier. You can implement the following technologies –
- Automatic Pill Dispensers
- Smart Home Devices – These can play music, control lights, change the thermostat temperature by voice commands.
- Locator devices
6. Treat Your Caregiving As Condition
Taking care of yourself is as important as taking care of the patient. Therefore, you should treat caregiving as a condition and implement measures to lower your physical and mental stress. Frequent breaks, respite care, counselling, respite care, talking to family and friends are your daily doses of medicines, and you shouldn’t skip them.
7. Signing Off
Some patients may still have years of indepence ahead, but it is important to plan the Alzhiemer’s home care journey in advance and prepare for it mentally, emotionally and financially. We hope that this article helps you manage and Alziehmer’s patients’ home nursing efficiently without affecting your personal health.