Advice from an Alzheimer’s Wife

My Journey as an Alzheimer’s Wife: Til Death Do Us Part

Tips from My Experience as an Alzheimer’s Wife

  1. Educate yourself on the disease and what to expect. Various websites and Julie’s expertise helped me deal with different behaviors I encountered. Setting up a routine is essential for both the Alzheimer’s patient and the caregiver.
  2. Find someone to talk to about your situation. I talked to my relatives and friends about practical matters, but Julie would just listen patiently to what I was going through. She reassured me that I was doing my best. She offered suggestions, but let me take them as I was ready. For some people a support group could fill this role, though I preferred a one-on-one conversation.
  3. Get help, but take things at a pace that’s comfortable for you. I do wish I’d gotten help sooner. But, we each have to find our own path. This is why I am forever thankful for Julie’s help. She did not rush me. She did not argue when I refused something. She didn’t tell me there was only one way to do things. But, by listening and understanding my concerns, she was able to gently suggest things. Each week after she left, I would process what she said; many times this led me to making a positive change.
  4. I would highly recommend consulting with a care manager. It is so reassuring to have an expert who knows you to act as a sounding board. When other family members think you should be doing things differently (or you doubt yourself) this is especially helpful.
  5. Think about the true meaning behind vows and promises. Julie helped me reflect on how I could live up to my vows without having to do every task myself. You may promise a loved one you’ll always keep them in their home. Later, you may realize you’re actually doing more harm by trying to keep the specific promise rather than its spirit.
  6. “It takes a village.” Realize you’re a better Alzheimer’s caregiver with the help of the right people. Ben was never in better shape than when the caregivers at the ALF started helping him. My health improved drastically when I was able to focus a little time on myself.

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