Helpful Psychological Considerations for Family Caregivers of Alzheimer's Patients
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Helpful Psychological Considerations for Family Caregivers of Alzheimer's Patients

Caregivers of seniors who have Alzheimer's often find themselves in the challenging position of trying to balance quality life for their loved one with managing their own mental and emotional health. There are many practical psychological elements that may go into caring for a senior with Alzheimer's disease, especially if you are the primary caregiver or have few other resources available. 

Understanding Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's is a progressive and degenerative neurological illness that results in memory loss as well as changes to thinking, behaviors, communication, and mood. Alzheimer's is caused by damage to cells within the brain, which results in interference with neurons communicating with each other. It has been divided into three distinct stages: Mild/Early Stage, Moderate/Middle Stage, and Severe/Late Stage. Each of these stages will present different challenges for caregivers.   

Developing a Care Plan

Having a set plan for care that is tailored to the senior’s individual needs allows caregivers to anticipate challenges and better equip themselves to handle them. It is crucial to understand the full scope of the overall needs of a senior with Alzheimer's when developing a care plan. 

Allowing your loved one as much independence and autonomy as possible can help build lasting connections with them throughout their disease journey. It is important, however, to take your loved one's unique needs into account, as well as to provide support as needed as the disease progresses. 

There may be strong emotional ties between you and your loved one that may shift due to changes in cognition or behavior associated with Alzheimer's Disease. Caregivers may need support from other family members, friends, church groups, professional organizations, or co-caregivers in order to move forward effectively. This support can provide physical and mental relief for primary caregivers. Connecting with others provides extra assistance on tasks like bathing, grooming, and personal hygiene, such as brushing teeth.  

Equally important is having regular breaks away from caregiving activities so everyone involved has time for self-care practices and leisure activities. In order to manage all of these key elements of care, it's necessary to have an organized plan in place. Your plan can help offer key information like who is responsible for which caregiving tasks and when a specific individual or group will come in to take over. 

Keep in mind that your care plan should also include respite options. You cannot always predict when the task of caregiving will become overwhelming, so having a plan in mind for how to handle those moments can prove essential. 

Utilizing Available Resources

There are many resources available to support caregivers in managing the psychological aspects of caring for a senior who has Alzheimer's. Support groups provide a safe and advantageous space for caretakers to share experiences, tips on how to cope with stress, and ways to work through personal feelings regarding their loved one's diagnosis. 

Professional counseling is also an option if caregiving responsibilities are becoming too taxing. Financial aid may be available through insurance plans or organizations such as those that offer respite vouchers, which allow caregivers to take some time away from assisting their family member while ensuring they receive quality assistance during that period of absence. Caregivers should not hesitate to take advantage of those resources when needed. 

Senior Helpers Tampa Can Offer Support Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer's

At Senior Helpers Tampa, we help seniors and caregivers in the Tampa, Hillsborough County, Lutz, and Odessa area with basic assistance tasks. We can offer overnight care, respite care, or assistance with daily tasks of living for seniors who may simply need a little more help with those daily tasks. Contact us today to learn more about what we can offer.