My best friend’s wife is in the moderate stage of Alzheimer’s disease. What would be some helpful ways to continue to show our support as the disease progresses?
Since it is very typical for the Alzheimer’s caregiver to resist asking for help and support and accepting help, you could assist your friend by supporting him in a number of ways as he learns to manage his wife’s care through the Alzheimer’s disease journey.
Most importantly, don’t stop visiting. So many individuals with Alzheimer’s — and their caregivers — become isolated once the disease develops, and this isolation can lead to a more rapid progression of the disease, not to mention loneliness for the caregiver. Though it may be difficult at times to visit your friend’s spouse because her memory has faded and she doesn’t know your name or recognize you, it is important to keep her socially engaged and active. Even though she forgets your name, she can enjoy your companionship at the present moment.
Instead of “offering” to cook a meal or two (as your friend will mostly likely decline), go ahead and prepare some meals and put them in containers that are easy to freeze and reheat.
Moreover, have a meal together, setting the table and really making it an “event” for the spouse as she will feel so special sitting around a table, eating and socializing with her friends.
Your friend could probably use some relief in caring for his spouse, so an afternoon off would be a special treat you could offer him. You could either stay with his spouse or pay for an in-home caregiver to take care of her while your friend enjoys playing golf, running errands or dining with other friends and/or colleagues.
Should you opt to hire an in-home caregiver for your friend’s spouse, Alzheimer’s Services can assist financially through its respite reimbursement program.
If you know others in the neighborhood or possibly young adults willing to volunteer, you can organize a “yard” day in which you can mow your friend’s lawn, freshen up the landscape or perform small repairs around the house.
Additionally, you can offer to go to the store and buy groceries, assist your friend in taking his spouse to doctor appointments or just be that listening and supportive ear he may desperately need at times.
Your friend is lucky to have you in his life to assist him in the daunting undertaking of caring for his wife with Alzheimer’s disease.
Questions about Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia disorder? Contact Dana Territo, the Memory Whisperer, Director of Services at Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area, (225) 334-7494, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the organization at 3772 North Blvd., Baton Rouge.