As your loved one experiences the changes brought on by Alzheimer’s disease, he or she will require increasing amounts of assistance from you. You may ultimately be “on call” for your loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The activities of daily living, such as eating, dressing, maintaining personal hygiene, taking medications, cleaning, shopping, paying bills and providing transportation, may eventually become your full responsibility. That’s a lot for one person to manage! You may also become the primary emotional support for your loved one, who will watch you for cues that indicate how to react or what to do next.
Although you can’t control the course the disease takes, you can shape the way in which you provide care and the way you cope with the responsibilities. The more you understand how Alzheimer’s disease affects cognition, behavior and communication, the better you’ll be able to help guide your loved one through the disease process and have a positive impact on the experience. Diseaserelated changes will seem less mysterious, and you may find it easier to respond.