Supporting Care Partners

Whether you are a family member, friend, or providing professional care for someone,  self care is an important aspect. It is not uncommon for caregivers of any age to feel like they are struggling with remembering. So much needs to be done and often they are lacking adequate sleep, not eating regular meals and very stressed. For those with loved ones who have been diagnosed with dementia,  there may be an underlying fear that it could be happening to them.

Here are some areas to consider:

1. When working with families, there is often relief once they have a better understanding of the many causes of memory frustrations. Most people can benefit from some practical strategies to use in their day to day routine, especially caregivers. In some situations, the person being cared for or providing the care has a hearing loss which only adds to the challenges since a person needs to hear something to remember it. Here is another situation where some basic tips can be helpful for all involved.

2. Often friends and family members offer help and want to provide support.  Because You Care: What to do when you do not what to do is filled with practical tips, particularly for those reluctant to ask for help.

3. Holidays and celebrations are times to look forward to but they also can add to a person’s responsibilities. This is a time when a caregiver needs to be aware of some of the challenges particularly when caring for someone with dementia and how to make the situation less stressful for all involved. Then there are the events where family often gathers and new concerns arise concerning one or both of the parents. There are some definite tips that can be helpful including learning more about what some of the changes can mean and the implications for safety and quality of life. Approaching such a delicate conversation is never easy and increased awareness of what to say and how to say it ahead of time can contribute to setting the stage for future discussions.

4. Sometimes there are many people involved in caring for someone and a vital part of the process is getting everyone on the same page with regard to a person’s medical history including current concerns and recommendations. With people coming and going or living in different parts of the country, this process can be made easier with technology. Sometime it is the younger family members who are more tech savvy and can assist by putting details into a user friendly format that can be updated as needed.

5. If you have not heard about creating a Lifestyle Care Plan,  it is a way to share your wishes for day to day needs and preferences should you need to be in the care of another person.  In many cases it is some of the simple, little things that can be meaningful to someone receiving care who cannot easily express those wishes.

6. If a person with memory loss has been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or young onset dementia, refer to these links for more detailed information. For Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias, these blogs can provide additional insights. Also refer to the eldercare articles and blogs for specific information on a wide variety of topics.

Staying connected with a loved one means meeting them where they are which is possible when activities the person enjoys are modified appropriately. Others can be more comfortable visiting when they are provided with suggestions for creating time well spent.

“If you find it in your heart to care for someone else, you will have succeeded.” Maya Angelou

NOTE: If you are interested in offering one of Kathryn’s programs for care partners or professionals or would like to learn more about developing a personalized plan for a loved one, contact her at kathy@connectionsincommunications.com

About Kathryn Kilpatrick

Kathryn Kilpatrick received her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 1968 from the University of Massachusetts. She has worked in a variety of settings, primarily in Ohio, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and for decades in the area of home health care. Kathryn is president of Memory Fitness Matters (www.memoryfitnessmatters.com) and Communication Connection(www.connectionsincommunication.com). She offers memory coaching for all ages and has a geriatric consulting practice. She is a national motivational speaker and author of more than 30 products to enhance communication and connection as well as a Memory Fitness Toolkit. Kathryn brings her decades of experience as a speech-language pathologist to all those wanting to enhance their quality of life, particularly when there are communication, memory and cognitive challenges. Her websites offer information on a wide variety of topics related to elder care concerns as well as memory fitness and successful aging.
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