Your parent has Alzheimer’s. It’s a frightening diagnosis, but it’s also a time where you’ll take over some of your parent’s care. Even with senior care services helping out, there will be appointments you attend with your parent, days where the caregiver is on vacation or ill, or family gatherings for holidays or birthdays.
When this happens, you’ll take on a parental role. One thing you may not expect is to find your parent reverting to the behavior you’d expect of a young child. In many ways, caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s feels like parenting a toddler.
Bath Time Refusal is Common
Your parent needs a bath. It seems that an adult would willingly go in and get washed. It’s not always that easy when a parent has Alzheimer’s. Your parent may refuse to take a bath. You’ll hear cries of no and possibly encounter hitting and kicking if you try to get them into the bathroom.
Just like you’ve had to coax a toddler into the tub, you may have to do a lot of coaxing your parent into a shower or bath. Rewards are essential. A promise of an ice cream cone, a trip to a favorite beach or park, or a favorite movie may work.
Fussy Food Tastes Can Set In
Your mom used to love vegetables. One morning, the western omelet you’ve made her is nothing she’ll eat. She insists she’s never liked bell peppers or onions. She won’t eat.
You’ll need to find your mom’s new favorites. Some people with Alzheimer’s develop a taste for sweet items. Sweet potatoes are often more pleasing than potatoes. Honey grilled chicken is more appealing than lemon grilled chicken. Experiment to find her new favorite foods and meals become fun again.
Sleeping Through a Night Isn’t Easy
Your dad gets up regularly through the night. You can’t sleep because you don’t want him to wander. He gets up to go to the bathroom, to get water, or because he’s hungry. It’s exhausting.
To keep your dad from needing to go to the bathroom, limit his water a couple of hours before bedtime. Keep a water bottle by the side of his bed if he’s thirsty in the night.
Caregivers Help Make Sure You Get a Break
You need help. It may seem best to provide all the caregiving, but you will wear yourself out. Look into respite care from a senior care agency. Respite care provides the breaks you need while you are the main caregiver. Call a senior care agency to learn more.