When you care for someone with Alzheimer's or dementia, they become the main focus — everything revolves around them.
It begins by trying to keep the patient calm, safe and happy. Who doesn't want to avoid an angry outburst or tearful crying episode? So, routines and obligations gradually are relaxed to keep the peace.
You may skip doctors appointments because you can't get your person in the car. You may prepare and eat extra meals because just consumed food is forgotten, and dining is a pleasant activity. You may stay up all night to keep your now nocturnal person company and out of danger.
This seems okay, and even necessary at first. But, before you know it you're immersed in a world that doesn't make sense.
Don't let the person with dementia call the shots.
A regular schedule of outings — such as walks around the block, or rides in the car — can make it easier when you have appointments because it will be part of your routine to get up and go.
A planned day will keep everyone occupied and can reduce undesirable behaviors like overeating, or sleeping during the day.
The Alzheimer's Association suggests you create a daily plan based on your person's likes and dislikes. Click here for a sample plan and more ideas. It's also important to choose activities you enjoy, too.
Yes, there will be days when your plans are discarded.
But, when possible, try to have a rough outline of a schedule to make your caregiving experience easier and more enjoyable for both of you.
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