Caregiving for an Alzheimer's patient is tough. Sometimes, what seems like the right thing to do may actually not be at all. Here are five ways to better manage being an Alzheimer's caregiver:

  • Trying to be rational and reasonable causes trouble: If your mother with dementia is acting in a bizarre way, we want to patiently explain the situation and call on them to get back into line. However,  a person with dementia can no longer reason like a normal person, so she isn't going to respond to ration and logic. The best way to communicate here is in short, simple sentences.
  • Someone with Alzheimer's does not need a reality check: With someone with a fading memory, she may forget things that are important. For example, she might forget that her mother died. Remember, when you remind her of that, she is going to get upset all over again because she doesn't remember this fact. It's better to redirect their attention and have her talk about her mother and what she remembers.
  • You won't be perfect: Don't even try. You are going to get both frustrated and impatient sometimes as a caregiver. Learn to forgive both yourself and your loved one. And you have the right to feeling all human emotions as you deal with the challenges of being a caregiver.
  • Don't feel bad about lying: We want to be honest with everyone, but there are times when dealing with a dementia patient when it is better to just lie. Does it make any difference if she thinks she is working a grocery store, or drove to the mall yesterday when neither are true? Not at all. So don't argue with her about these things; just tell her that what she said is true and move on.
  • You can't make agreements with a dementia patient: The hardest thing to remember is you're dealing with a person who can't remember anything for more than a few seconds, in some cases. In the early stages, leaving notes around can help your loved one, but this won't work in the later stages of the disorder. Rather than telling her what she agreed to and starting an argument, just take action. For instance, don't tell her that she agreed to never run the hot water in the bathroom sink by herself. Keep the door secured when she is not using the bathroom and the problem is solved.

Remember these important things to make caregiving go more smoothly. And remember our Clear Zipper Pulls to help your loved one get dressed every day: