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Dementia Caregivers Toolbox

Family caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia/memory impairment face an extraordinary challenge. There’s a big learning curve, and you need all the help you can get. Fortunately, a lot of outstanding resources are available. This Dementia Caregivers Toolbox gathers a few of those tips and resources into one place so you can conveniently start finding the support and information you need.

Helpful Tips for Dementia Caregivers

  • Start building a support network. A lesson from dementia caregiving 101: Caregiving alone is nearly impossible. From the normal household activities like cooking, cleaning and running errands to care-related help like transportation to medical appointments, assistance with dressing or medication management, there are plenty of ways people can make caregiving a little easier. Talk with family, friends or volunteers, and recruit a network of people who can support you and your loved one in this journey.
  • Create an emergency contact list. Whether you’re caring for your loved one at home or they’re in a memory care community, be prepared for the unexpected by having an emergency contact list. Have the number for a designated “go-to” person who can be there on short notice. Also include phone numbers for family members who might need to be notified, your loved one’s medical provider, insurance provider, pharmacy, and any additional caregiving services you might use. Keep the list on your phone, and print a copy and post it in a prominent place at home.
  • Pack a “go” bag. Having overnight bags ready for you and your loved one will make any unexpected hospital visits more comfortable. Include water bottles, nonperishable snacks, tissues, a blanket and travel pillow, headphones, phone charger, a change of clothes, and something familiar like a comfort toy or photos of family members.
  • Schedule respite time. You can’t take care of someone else if you don’t take care of yourself. Put some self-care time on the calendar, even if it’s just for a few minutes each day. You can also explore respite stay options at senior living communities near you so you can have a few days without being a caregiver.
  • Organize medical information. If you haven’t done so already, consolidate and organize your loved one’s medical information. Paperwork, prescriptions, appointments, multiple doctors, insurance communication — it can become overwhelming if you don’t find a way to organize it all. If that’s not your strong suit, ask one of your support folks to help you figure out a system that works for you.

Support Groups

It’s important you have people to talk with who understand what you’re going through. Support groups for caregivers of dementia patients are a healthy way for you to share your feelings and experiences in a nonjudgmental environment. In addition to checking for support groups through your house of worship and community-based senior services organizations, here are a few other support resources to explore:

Books

Online Resources

  • Alzheimer’s Association — Plenty of articles, videos, research and support.
  • National Institute on Aging — This Alzheimer’s and related dementias caregiving page offers helpful information.
  • Caregiver Action Network — A general resource page for caregivers, but it also has information for those caring for someone with dementia.
  • Find a Community — This locator tool can help you find a local senior living community that has respite care and memory care.

Articles & Videos

Technology & Products

 

No matter where you’re at in your caregiving journey, you’re not alone. There are resources and support for your whole family as you consider memory care choices for your loved one.

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Caregiver RX

Practical advice and resources to help as you care for an aging loved one.

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