Most people who have
Alzheimer's disease are cared for at home by family members and friends. Taking
care of someone with the disease can be physically and emotionally
draining, but there are ways to make it easier.
Home treatment involves teamwork among health professionals and caregivers to create a safe and comfortable environment and to make tasks of daily living as easy as possible. Some people with early or mild Alzheimer's disease can be involved in planning for the future and organizing the home and daily tasks.
One of the keys to successful
home care is educating yourself. You can do a lot to make the most of the
person's remaining abilities, manage the problems that develop, and improve the
quality of his or her life as well as your own. Also remember that caregiving
can be a positive experience for you and the person you are caring for.
Tips for caregivers
Work with the team of health professionals to:
The team can also help you learn how to manage behavior problems. For example, you can learn ways to:
Caregivers should remember to
seek support from other family and friends. Groups
such as the Alzheimer's Association and the Dementia Advocacy and Support
Network can provide not only educational materials but also information on
support groups and services. For more
information, see the topic
Plan for the future
Alzheimer's disease progresses, you have decisions to make about medical care and legal issues.
- A nursing home or assisted living. Providing care at home
usually becomes more and more challenging. The decision to place a family
member in a nursing home or other facility can be a very difficult one. But
sometimes nursing home placement is the best choice.
- Alzheimer's Disease: Should I Move My Relative Into Long-Term Care?
- Palliative care. This is a kind of care for
people who have illnesses that don't go away and that often get worse over time.
Palliative care focuses on improving quality of life—not only in the body but
also in the mind and spirit. Talk to
your doctor if you are interested in this type of care. See the topic Palliative Care.
- End-of-life care. You may want to discuss health care and
other legal issues that may arise near the end of life. An advance directive or
living will lets people with the disease give others their health care instructions. To learn more, see the topic
Care at the End of Life.