Does Your Family Struggle to Care for A Loved One with Alzheimer’s or Dementia?
Aug 20, 2021
12 min read
Does Your Bay Area family juggle in-home care of a loved one with Dementia or Alzheimer’s? In-home care benefits your senior in many ways. However, as Alzheimer’s progresses, it can put a lot of pressure on the caregiver and may strain family relations.
Alzheimer’s Diagnosis and Family Dynamics
Ideally, you and your family talked in-depth to your aging parents about how and where they wish to spend their senior years. If the wishes of aging parents are known before challenges arise, the choices become easier to navigate. When caring for an Alzheimer’s or Dementia senior in the home, it is optimal when all family members communicate and collectively plan how to care for the loved one.
Questions to consider:
- If an aging parent has Alzheimer’s or Dementia, do all family members live nearby?
- Who will be the primary caregiver?
- How can all members of the family contribute to caring for the parent?
If you are the caregiver, it is easy to become overwhelmed if you don’t share and delegate tasks and at least some of the care responsibilities for your loved one with Dementia. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to do everything yourself for an extended period of time.
There are stages of Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of Dementia. Understanding the likely progression of the disease can help you and your family plan for the present and consider the future.
Care Indeed, the Bay Area’s in-home care service, offers specialized options for Alzheimer’s and Dementia care. Visit our dementia services page to find out more or give us a call at (650) 352-4007.
Addressing Family Challenges When Caring for Loved Ones with Alzheimer’s
Modern families lead complex lives. It is not unusual for various members of the family to live in different areas, cities, or even different states. When a parent, spouse, or loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Dementia, it is normal for family members who live far away to have mixed emotions.
There may be feelings of guilt that they can’t help with caring for the Alzheimer’s parent. They may feel anxiety or stress, worrying about how Alzheimer’s will impact their loved one.
The in-home caregiver may feel exhausted and, at times, unfairly burdened with responsibilities. It may seem like the caregiver’s duties never end, especially if there are also children to care for and a career outside the home. As the Alzheimer’s progresses, the caregiver’s duties continue to increase.
How Family Members Can Work Together
Although managing Alzheimer’s disease can be stressful, families with the best outcomes are able to avoid drama and conflict. By supporting one another, especially the in-home caregiver and the family member with Alzheimer’s, conflicts can be avoided or minimized.
Family members that live nearby can take turns caring for the senior. This gives the primary caregiver a much-needed break.
Families that live farther away can keep in touch via Zoom or other video chat platforms. Family meetings can also be conducted this way, so all family members feel updated on the loved one’s status and any decisions that need to be made.
Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease
Do you recall when you first realized your family member showed signs of a cognitive disorder like Alzheimer’s or Dementia? Often, the early stages go unnoticed because the symptoms are similar to the normal aging process.
Here are the seven stages of Alzheimer’s:
1. The first stage is rarely recognized as a stage because there are no visible signs of loss of memory or confusion. At this time, there is no hint of how the disease will progress.
2. In stage two, there is some loss of memory, but it may be difficult to tell if it is due to aging or Alzheimer’s, Dementia, or another condition. Important dates may be forgotten.
3. Signs of mild cognitive challenges occur in stage three. Difficulty remembering names, problems with concentrating when reading, and struggling to get the right words out when speaking are all signs that start appearing. It still may be too soon to realize this is Alzheimer’s. Sometimes conversations become repetitive.
4. The classic signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s or Dementia become apparent in stage four. Your loved one may struggle to recall childhood memories. There may be difficulty remembering things that happen in the present. Your senior may have confusion and difficulty completing normal tasks like bill paying or menu planning.
5. In this fifth stage, the signs of Alzheimer’s are becoming more obvious. Simple things like dressing, running errands, what day of the week it is, and what the current season is may be met with confusion by your family member. Recalling addresses and phone numbers is often difficult or impossible for the senior.
6. The sixth stage of Alzheimer’s is frequently heartbreaking for family members as they witness the cognitive decline of their aging parent or spouse. At this stage, the Alzheimer’s senior may not remember the name of the spouse but can recognize the spouse’s face. Help with the activities of daily living, like toileting, dressing, and other necessities may be required. It is usually at this stage of Alzheimer’s that your loved one might wander away.
7. The seventh stage of Alzheimer’s is challenging for the caregiver, family members, and the senior. The family member with Alzheimer’s may remember little, including likes or dislikes. Your loved one may lose the ability to speak. The body may begin to shut down or become more vulnerable to infection. Care around-the-clock is usually required in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Don’t Try to Do Everything Alone
As the Alzheimer’s progresses, it will be more challenging for the caregiver to care for the loved one. You may want to get support by hiring a Care Indeed caregiver. Our caregivers can provide round-the-clock care depending on your needs.
Care Indeed offers many services that can help caregivers save time and support the needs of seniors diagnosed with Dementia or Alzheimer’s, including Care Bundles. A Care Bundle is customizable and can include Home Care, Meal Delivery, Errands such as medication pick-up, grocery pick-ups, and more. Services like these can lighten the load of the primary caregiver.
As the Alzheimer’s disease enters the later stages, it may be time to consider additional support, like a Care Indeed licensed, bonded caregiver or a memory care facility. The goal is to provide compassionate, respectful care for your family member as the Alzheimer’s or Dementia progresses.
Knowing what to expect when your loved one is diagnosed with Dementia or Alzheimer’s helps you to provide them the best support and care. We are here for you. Contact one of our local San Francisco Bay Area home care offices or call (650) 352-4007.
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