The purpose of this chapter is to alert you, the caregiver, to some of the difficulties you may encounter in caring for your memory-impaired relative, and to offer our best advice and the advice of other caregivers in coping with the hardships that brain failure can impose. Our motto is: "Forewarned is forearmed." Not every impaired person will behave in the same way as the people you will read about here. Each person with Alzheimer's disease or another variety of memory loss is an individual whose symptoms, while similar, may manifest themselves differently and in varying degrees. Some people deteriorate gradually, others rapidly. No one person will have every problem discussed here.
Remember that because he is ill, his human needs for love, attention, caring, and kindness may be intensified. He may still have a sense of humor and be able to enjoy life. Remember, too, that you are human also, and that, along with your caring and devotion, you will be subject to feelings of anger, unfairness, depression, guilt, and resentment at the enormous burdens you face.
Your common sense, good humor, and imagination will help you to get through critical moments and to find innovative solutions to problems that seem insoluble. Even small creative changes may enhance your daily life and help you to make the necessary adaptations that will comfort and sustain you and your patient.