Caregivers play a crucial role in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Most often, the caregiver wears many hats – the chauffeur, chef, the parent and many more.
In most cases, it is the caregiver who is expected to put the patient and his/her family at ease.
In the initial stages of Alzheimer's disease, the patients are aware of the changes that they are experiencing. This makes them anxious or feel ashamed. Sometimes they may become paranoid and aggressive, which could affect the caregiver as well. They are also likely to forget familiar faces, including those close to them.
The task, while novel, is stressful to a large extent.
Some of the symptoms of caregiver stress include:
» Mood swings
» Back pain
» Unable to concentrate
» Unable to sleep
Here are a few pointers that could help ease the stress levels of the caregiver:
» Spare a few minutes to do what you love every day.
» Stay in touch with your friends
» Try to seek help or support from another member of the family or a friend when you need to take a break
» Use a notepad or a set of sticky notes to keep a tab of all the tasks that your would have to perform regarding the patient's health care.
» Be patient and keep the doctor in the loop at all times.
» Some patients with Alzheimer's disease suffer from Sundown Syndrome (he/she feels upset when the sunsets). Try to distract the patient with another activity or even an interesting video.
» You could put up pictures of people they’re likely to see often or know well with names printed underneath. That way, they would be able to recognize them to a small extent.
» Explain the details regarding the disease to the children of the household. Encourage them to the celebrate the happy moments of person suffering from the disease. They could probably create a scrapbook with happy pictures.