Caregiving is HARD. Having Alzheimer’s or Dementia is even HARDER.  We understand and we are committed to providing whatever individual and caregiver advice, hints, support and care we can offer from the ALZ Foundation, to make caregiving for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or any form of Dementia more understandable.

Acceptance: A diagnosis of any form of dementia can be confusing and it is very difficult for you as a loved one and family members as it is for the patient. Give yourself some time and allow yourself and your loved one time to mentally, emotionally and spiritually process the diagnosis. You have the right to be Angry, Sad, Confused and have Doubts and have a lot of questions. You and your loved one are going through a rollercoaster of emotions, and this is normal and expected. However, don’t let denial prevent you from seeking early interventions and accepting help and guidance.

Find a safe outlet: Feelings of anger, frustration, sadness, disbelief, grief, denial, fear, and a sense of confusion are all common emotional experiences in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia for both the patient and you, the caregiver. Let your loved one express what they’re feeling and encourage them to continue pursuing activities that add meaning and purpose to their life. To deal with your own fears, doubts, and sadness, find others who you can confide in and share your experiences.

Utilize Support and Resources: Navigating the journey ahead can be and usually is full of questions and doubts. No decision you make is wrong! We are all learning more about this disease and how to cope and understand it every day. You are not alone. There are many local, State, National and online resources that can help and you and your loved one. The ALZ Foundation offers peer to peer support, a dedicated helpline, direction to resources, therapy tools, friendly advice, and for caregivers and their families. We can also put you in touch with local and State services.

Learning, Growing, Sharing and Remembering: You as the caregiver or you as the person with Alzheimer’s or Dementia experience this journey differently. The more you can learn about the stages of this disease and the progression, the better you’ll be able to prepare for future changes and the challenges that may come along. Ask questions, research, read, and keep growing in your knowledge and understanding, grow as a person while traveling this road of unknowns and fears. YOU ARE HUMAN! You have many emotions, and they will all be manifested with this Disease. Good days come with hard days. Take the good days and share the experience, journal the moments, keep a diary, start a blog, email, or join an online chat room for Alzheimer’s. Whatever you choose to do in your learning and growing with this disease. Remember who you are, who your loved one is, and will always be. LOVE, COMPASSION, KINDNESS and taking time to breathe, relax, focus and stay calm even when the storm is crashing all around you and all hope seems lost. Remember you are not alone. Your frustration is real and understandable, you are not alone in this journey. Reach out to us the ALZ FOUNDATION. We remember, we are here for you.

The Long and Winding Road: As the journey begins no one, no time frame can predict how your loved one will act, react, or change. Inevitably changes will occur. In the beginning stages of Dementia your loved one may be able to maintain their independence and live alone and carry out many activities of daily living. However, over time their cognitive and physical declines may lead your loved one to require daily assistance. YOU the caregiver should prepare and seek legal, financial, medical, hospice, memory care, and even end of life directives and plans as early as possible to reduce potential strife, stress and conflict down the road. None of this is easy or without struggles, but by Putting plans for their future in motion today will make decisions later easier for both you the caregiver/family and your loved one. Continue to involve and support your loved one with Dementia or Alzheimer’s decisions early on. The road ahead is filled with curves, bumps and potholes. Preparing the best you can now to save stress and anxiety for you and your loved one. Respect the decisions made, honor your loved ones wishes and prepare for the road ahead.