What Responsibilities Do Family Caregivers Assume When a Senior Has Alzheimer's?
When a senior loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, family caregivers are often unaware of what lies ahead. They may worry about how they will manage their family member’s needs.
Because learning about what to expect can help you prepare, we created this overview of responsibilities caregivers of seniors with Alzheimer’s often assume.
Caring for a Senior with Early Stage Alzheimer’s Disease
First, learn more about their disease and the physical changes it causes. Inside the Brain is a comprehensive resource created by the Alzheimer’s Association. It can help you better understand how the disease affects the brain and body.
Next, it’s helpful to know how caregivers typically provide assistance at each stage of the disease. In the earliest stages, a senior loved one might be able to maintain most of their independence. They may need a loved one to help oversee their finances and stay on track with appointments and important events.
Early on, assist them in creating important legal documents—such as a will and a healthcare power of attorney—if they don’t already have them. While these discussions can be difficult, having them early allows the older adult to share their wishes for the future.
Another early step is conducting a home safety assessment. That can help you identify potential hazards to address. A home security system with an emergency call component adds an extra layer of safety.
Alzheimer’s Caregiver Responsibilities
Alzheimer’s care becomes more demanding and complex as the disease progresses. Some of the responsibilities caregivers assume for their senior loved one include:
- Scheduling medical appointments and providing transportation
- Managing medications and giving prompts at dosage time
- Paying bills and handling financial decisions
- Helping with personal care needs, such as bathing, grooming, and dressing
- Preparing nutritious, easy-to-eat meals and snacks
- Planning empowering life enrichment activities such as music, arts, and crafts
- Monitoring changes in the senior’s condition and sharing them with their physician
- Assisting with toileting needs and continence care
Senior Care to Support Alzheimer’s Caregivers
Caregiving can become a staggering load many family caregivers discover they can’t do alone. For that reason, Alzheimer’s experts often suggest families explore senior care at each stage of the disease.
In the early stages of the disease, an in-home care provider might be enough. They can help with grocery shopping, meal preparation, and light housekeeping. When utilized in conjunction with family support, it may be a successful solution.
As the disease progresses, a family member might decide to move the senior into their home. If they work, an adult day program is often a good solution to keep the senior safe during the workday. Short-term respite care at an assisted living community can be used when the family needs a break or wants to take a vacation.
If the older adult requires 24-hour care, families often turn to memory care. These specialized dementia care programs thoughtfully design every detail. From the training caregivers receive to the meals that are served, memory care helps adults with dementia live their best quality of life.
If you are the caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, one of our senior care advisors can help you explore senior care options in your community. Call us at 800-304-8061 to talk with a local advisor for free.
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