Tips For Caring One With Alzheimer Disease

Although it is someone no one wants to look forward to, it is best if you plan ahead.  As soon as Alzheimer’s is diagnosed, you should be looking to create a care plan for the afflicted person.  There are some key questions that you need to be asking yourself, and to insure that you create the best plan possible, you need to answer them all as deeply as possible.

Usually the first thing that crops up is the financial and legal concerns.  It is not entirely uncommon for a person with a disease like Alzheimer’s to enter a state where they are unable to make decisions for themselves, and because of that someone needs to be able to make the decision for them.  So first thing: who is going to decide on what to do with the person’s finances once they are unable to do anything themselves?  Generally you’ll want to choose someone who is good with money.  Next, create a living will.  A living will essentially decides whether or not the person will choose to remain on life support or not, if things become that bad.  Finally, insure that the Alzheimer’s victim has a will, and if not, consult a lawyer immediately to make one.  This needs to be done before the person is unable to communicate what they would want in a will themselves.

Arguably most important, and one of the most difficult to decide categories, is care.  The main question you should be asking is figuring out who will be the main caregiver, and what role will everyone else in the family play?  Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s is a very demanding job, and to leave it to one person may not be such a good idea.  Figure out who the primary caregiver is, and make sure that they are both able enough to do it, and that they have the time to do it.  An adult daycare facility may not be out of the question, and it will certainly take a mountain of pressure off the primary caregiver.  In deciding what role the other family members will play, first make a list of the various roles there are (taking the person for walks, helping out around the house), and then have people volunteer for various positions.  Make sure that each of the people volunteering can commit the time to the task they volunteered to, or they will be useless.

Living conditions and exactly what to do are always high on the care plan.  First, make a note of where the Alzheimer’s victim is living at the moment.  Now, think about exactly what Alzheimer’s is going to do to them.  If they’re on their own, are they going to be safe?  If they’re living with someone, is the person they’re living with going to be able to care for them?  Will they be able to do it all the time?  If not, you should start to look at long-term care facilities, or assisted living.  Both of those options can help out a tremendous amount, and may or may not be paid for by health care.

Speaking of health care, you need to decide who is going to make all the decisions regarding the health of the person once they are unable to.  It is best to decide on one or two people (preferably one), as any more than that and a bunch of conflicting thoughts may arise.  When there is conflict, nothing will get done.

Lastly, prepare for emergencies.  What happens if the primary caregiver is unable to be with the patient on short notice?  What if they’re away on vacation?  You need to make up a back-up plan, just in case.  It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.  You should make sure that all members of the family, as well as the neighbors are aware of the back-up plan.  It doesn’t do much good if it just sits there.

If you follow all of the above points, you should be able to make a care plan suitable for the patients needs.  Remember to do this as soon as possible after the initial diagnosis, as that is when it will be easiest, and you’ll be able to hear the wishes of the patient themselves.