More Caregiving Strategies

By Robert Elmer III on January 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

So how are you doing with your New Years Resolutions? If you’re like most, you’ve probably done a little backsliding but if you’ve held fast and not given in, then good for you. Not surprisingly, my next questions is how have you been doing with your “caregiving resolutions?” In case you missed it, on January 4th, this article focused on the first five of ten caregiving strategies that would result in a better quality of life for those you are caring for and consequently, a better quality of life for you. Here now are the next five strategies for better caregiving.
-The Doctors Often Need To Be Educated By You. Try and keep a journal of your loved ones behaviors so you can share it with their physician. An exam won’t tell the Doctor if your loved one is wandering at night, not eating well or is constantly agitated. Remember too, try not to talk about your loved ones issues in front of them.
-You Can’t Do It All. It’s OK To Accept Help. It’s always harder to ask for help than it is to accept it so when someone offers, say yes! Let them pick up a prescription, let them stay with your loved one while you take a break and enjoy some time for yourself. Make a list so when friends or family ask to help, they can. In many cases, if you don’t say anything, they’ll never know you’d welcome the help.
-Don’t Over Estimate Or Underestimate What Your Loved One Can Do. We never want to take away their ability to do things for themselves. We also need to be aware that we shouldn’t ask more of them than they are capable of. If you are feeding them when they can feed themselves or dressing them when they can dress themselves, guess who will forget how to feed and dress themselves? This is one area where patience really pays off.
-Tell (nicely) Don’t Ask. Rather than ask them what they’d like for dinner, you decide and tell them what’s for dinner. If they are having trouble processing, asking them to decide on dinner is quite a chore. Just like with your children, the question could be “do you want carrots or corn with dinner?” Either way they answer, they’re going to get a vegetable. This will work with clothing choices and activity choices. “It’s cold out so we’re going to wear this sweater.” Not, “do you want to wear this sweater?”
-It’s Normal To Question Their Diagnosis When They Have Moments Of Lucidity. As I’ve said many times, you are dealing with a disease and not the person. Everyone with dementia, especially in the early to mid stage, has those moments when they respond appropriately and make perfect sense. Rather than second guess the specialists diagnosis, enjoy those special moments when they occur.
You may have noticed that in a few of these 10 Strategies for Caregiving that the focus is on you the caregiver(s). It doesn’t matter if you are a professional caregiver that works in a nursing home or dedicated Alzheimer’s care community or if you’re an informal caregiver caring for a loved on at home; you need to take care of you first. I’ve learned first hand that, in the paid arena, the majority of staff work in this field because their hearts are really in it. If not, they don’t last very long. Informal or at home caregivers often don’t have a choice so it’s critical that they take care of themselves and take advantage of the many resources available to them. Companions, Adult Day Care, family and more.
If you have any questions please email me at And remember, Join the Journey.

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