As with every disease, the effects Alzheimer’s disease has on a patient will differ from person to person, particularly in the early to middle stages. From forgetfulness and a decline in cognitive skills to out-of-character displays of emotions and behaviour, these are all common symptoms of dementia. The timetable for these symptoms can vary from person to person. One stage of the disease may last significantly longer than another, and some symptoms could occur at earlier or later stages for your loved one than in typical cases all of which exemplify how difficult it is to manage this disease. Given that it is a progressive disease, however, you will always be able to witness it starting with mild symptoms and gradually deteriorating over time. The earliest sign is usually forgetfulness. If you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, here’s what to expect during the middle stages of caregiving:
What to expect from your loved one
The middle stage of Alzheimer’s is often marked by language problems, a higher than usual forgetfulness and a loss of interest in things that were once enjoyed. Your loved one may begin to confuse their sentences and thoughts or be able form coherent sentences. They can quickly become agitated or angry as a result of feeling frustrated and unable to communicate clearly. Most likely, daily routines and thought processes may become jumbled as the disease progresses.
What to expect from yourself
Taking full-time care of a loved one can be overwhelming at times. That is entirely normal and nothing to feel guilty about. Do whatever you feel capable of doing to care with love, kindness, and consideration of both your loved one and your own healthy boundaries. As a caregiver, once this stage begins to progress, it will require additional patience and empathy, as your loved one can easily feel overwhelmed with losing control of aspects of their life.
During this phase, the ability to be independent becomes progressively limited for the Alzheimer patient, which may require you as a caregiver to learn to adapt accordingly and stay flexible at all times. As everyday life becomes more challenging at this stage of the disease with basic activities (dressing, bathing or eating) presenting a daily challenge, many families welcome in Alzheimer’s caregivers to provide a higher level of care for the loved one and ease the family caregiver’s responsibilities. Not only because of the level of extra care required, but also because of skills and expertise.
Taking time for yourself matters
Progressing through the stages of Alzheimer’s disease is a challenging journey for everyone involved, including the family caregiver. Your loved one will need you more than ever to lean on for love and daily support. But it’s important to remember that you too must find others to lean on for strength to avoid losing track of your life while providing for someone suffering from mental health decline.
It is imperative to utilize support in your community for caregivers who are in situations similar to yours. Dementia is a difficult disease to handle for everyone involved, caregiver, patient and all family members. Especially, when you are close to the person you are taking care of, it can feel difficult to step away at times. However, to provide the level of support required, you need to make a conscious effort to continue your interests and enjoyments. That means spending time with friends, being open about the challenges you may be experiencing, and taking moments to be calm, reflective, and be comforted.
Qualicare Family Homecare specializes in Alzheimer’s care. We focus on care for the whole family so you can focus on spending quality time with your loved one. Our compassionate and experienced caregivers understand what your family is going through and can provide safe nurse-monitored care at home tailored to your loved one’s needs. Contact us to get the type of care you deserve, 613.366.2899 to schedule a free in-home consultation and learn more about our Alzheimer’s care services.