National Caregiver’s Day Tips
Caregiving is made up of tasks that are only temporarily completed. That important doctor’s appointment you took your father to may have been a heroic achievement of a goal—but there are plenty more doctors’ appointments ahead. You may have finally succeeded in securing the help of an aide to assist your mother so she can stay home a bit longer—but you know very well that the nature of Alzheimer’s disease means that the day may come when an aide at home is not enough. And then there are the day-to-day chores, cooking and feeding, bathing and dressing—these are certainly undone quickly, and you have to start again from scratch.
- BE ENCOURAGING
Support engagement in activities that bring your loved one joy, even if they seem redundant to you.
- ENCOURAGE SELF EXPRESSION
Incorporate activities that allow for self-expression, like painting, dancing, drawing, or music.
- JUMP IN DURING THE HARD PARTS
Help with challenging parts of an activity. If your loved one is having trouble measuring an ingredient, finish the measuring then ask them to do the mixing. This allows them to know they are important.
- BE FLEXIBLE
If discontent seems imminent, don’t force participation. Make room for switching gears and try the activity another way.
- MODEL TASKS
You may need to show your loved one how to participate in an activity and break your explanation into basic steps.
- PLAN AROUND THEIR SCHEDULE
Your loved one may find specific activities easier to complete in the morning or night. For example, bathing might be easier in the morning.
- RELATE ACTIVITIES TO WORK-LIFE
If your loved one worked in an office, they may enjoy activities that organize a space like sorting mail or color-coding folders.
- REDUCE COMPETING STIMULI
Noise from the TV or radio makes it harder to hear and it competes with you for the listener’s attention. Cut down any extraneous sounds to ensure your loved one is able to focus.
- ADAPT TO THEIR LISTENING STYLE
Employ active listening and repeat back to your loved one what they are asking. Mimic the words and gestures they regularly use.
- EMPHASIZE ENJOYMENT, NOT ACHIEVEMENT
Encourage activities that enhance your loved one’s skills and ability. Try choosing tasks that are at their current skill level to head off frustration and set them up for success.