Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease is a balancing act. You keep your loved one safe and comfortable, keep track of his medications and doctor’s appointments, and give him your love and support. But your life matters, too. It’s just as important to keep up with your work, family, and social life.
In your role as a caregiver, do what you can to bewell informed and prepared, and ask for help and support when you need it.
Rosemary Orange, 53, of Ottawa, Ontario, suspected something was wrong with her 83-year-old mother, Sylvia. "She'd go shopping and forget what she was doing," Orange says. "So she'd come right back home without buying anything."
Several months later, Orange's mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, a type of dementia that affects nearly 36 million people worldwide. That rate is expected to nearly double in the next 20 years, according to the World Health Organization.
What can you do if a parent...
It helps to keep in mind how the disease affects people who have it. If you know what changes to expect, it can help you understand how your role may be different with time.
Alzheimer’s disease is different for everyone who has it. A person’s condition can change a lot. There may be times when your loved one seems pretty normal and can handle his usual activities. Other times, he may be very dependent. The way medications affect him also can vary. The changes can be confusing and may make your loved one seem demanding or dishonest. But it’s just a natural part of the disease.
Your loved one’s symptoms will get worse as years go by. While medicines can slow down this progress, they can’t stop it.
Depression is a part of Alzheimer's as well. It can make symptoms worse and change how well your loved one manages day to day. It’s important to know the signs he might be depressed and let his doctor know right away.