Adult children often serve as caregivers for aging parents. Are you prepared for the role?
Caregivers must monitor the health and independence of their aging parents. Start by evaluating the situation from a caregiver's perspective. Are your parents safe in their home? How well are your parents taking care of themselves? How are your parents' spirits? Are your parents having difficulty getting around? Talk with your parents if you have any concerns about their health or safety.
Caregivers must also be prepared for an emergency. Compile a list of your parents' doctors, allergies, medications, surgeries, insurance information and other important details. Discuss long term care, living wills and advance directives.
Caregivers face many challenges. If necessary, seek help from other family members or local social service agencies.
The physical and emotional demands facing an Alzheimer's caregiver are daunting. Being an Alzheimer's caregiver might take more strength and patience than you ever imagined. Whether you've been an Alzheimer's caregiver for years or you're just learning to cope with the disease, look to friends, family and community resources for support.
As you care for your loved one, consider practical strategies for communicating with your loved one and keeping your loved one safe. At the same time, understand that the challenges for an Alzheimer's caregiver multiply as the end of life approaches. Consider ways to prepare for the tough choices ahead.
As an Alzheimer's caregiver, it's also important to remember your own needs. Ask for help when you need it, and pay attention to warning signs of caregiver stress.
Mar. 16, 2011