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What Does It Mean to be a Home Caregiver for a Loved One with Alzheimer's or Dementia?

Consulate Retirement Village of North StrabaneIllness can shake a family with overwhelming dread and instability, and it's times like these when people reach points in their lives where they must depend on others. For some, caring for a loved one is a task they take on themselves; for others, it's a calling. Whether you are making the decision to care for your loved one at home or you have decided to place their care into the hands of others, Consulate Health Care wants to be sure you're equipped with the information you need to get the most from this precious time together.

It is critical to get an understanding of your role as a caregiver and the needs of your loved one in the early stages by preparing a complete plan with their doctor. If you are caring for someone diagnosed with Alzheimer's or dementia, your role is more of a care partner than a caregiver (i). You provide support and companionship by helping them keep appointments, remembering names or words, recognizing familiar places or faces, performing familiar tasks and encouraging them to stay involved in activities they enjoy. Since there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, the most important goals of treatment are to maintain quality of life, to maximize function in daily activities, to enhance cognition and behavior, to foster a safe environment and to promote social engagement when appropriate (ii). As a caregiver, you may find yourself tasked with so many responsibilities that your own health may suffer. Therefore, it's important to also keep your own doctor appointments, exercise at home, eat well and take advantage of activities that you can do together with your loved one, benefiting you both. One of the most important tips for you is to stay positive, manage your stress and laugh as often as possible (iii).

i Alzheimer's and Dementia Caregiver Center; www.alz.org
ii Alzheimer's Association
iii www.myalzheimerssupport.com

For more information or assistance with your at home caregiving plan or to find the right care center for you and your loved one, Consulate Retirement Village of North Strabane is here to provide support and offers compassionate care in their Secured Memory Care Unit with a focus on personalized behavioral management plans. Call (724) 746-0600 or visit www.consulatehealthcare.com.

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