2022 Resolutions for Caregivers and Loved Ones With Alzheimer’s Disease

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by Ray Burow |

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It’s impossible to know the future. We may have an idea of what’s on the horizon, but we can’t be sure of a year’s outcome until it’s dissipated. Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20, so as you stand on the precipice of a new year, is there anything you would have done differently in 2021? If given enough time, most of us would alter a decision or two, and, if it were in our power, eliminate at least one or two events that we’d prefer not to have experienced.

Changing the outcome of the past year is not within our control. However, the new year holds promise. Don’t they all?

Seriously, each new year brings promise. There are many possibilities in a new beginning, which is perhaps the point behind New Year’s resolutions: to resolve to make the best of the 365 days granted to us.

If you or a loved one is facing Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, you might balk against the idea of resolving. What’s the use? There’s so little about the disease over which you have control.

Why make New Year’s resolutions

Making a New Year’s resolution or two is a good practice, as it gives us something to look forward to and strive for. Perhaps you’ve been putting off seeing a health professional because you’re afraid to face a diagnosis. However, refusing to make a doctor appointment won’t change your health outcome. For instance, if you have dementia, refusing to be diagnosed won’t change that. Denying education about the disease removes an opportunity to take matters into your own hands, face dementia head-on, and seek help early.

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Resolutions for caregivers

Resolve to be kind.

For most familial caregivers, caregiving is a 24/7 job. You’ll wish to be kind in the difficult moments you face with a loved one. It may be challenging at times, and you’ll fail now and again, but work at it. If kindness completely eludes you, seek professional help. Speak with a counselor or psychologist to help you assess your emotional state.

Resolve to do better.

Caregivers are imperfect, just like everyone else. We make mistakes, but the trick is to resolve to do better.

Resolve to care for yourself.

Don’t take your health for granted in the new year. Caregiving and caring for your health are similar to a flight attendant’s instructions regarding emergencies. When the oxygen masks descend, the flight attendant advises parents and other caregivers to place the cover on themselves before administering it to the person for whom care is provided. The idea is that without caring for yourself, you’ll be unable to care for someone else.

Resolutions for people diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease

Resolve to be courageous.

Fear of the unknown is normal, and there’s much that’s unknown about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Naturally, you’re afraid, but crippling fear is dangerous. Enlist a trusted family member or friend and your health professional to help you face the unknown. Learn what you can about your disease, and trust the people you’ve always known to be trustworthy.

Resolve to follow your doctor’s instructions.

If you were diagnosed with cancer or heart disease, you wouldn’t take matters into your own hands, so please don’t do it with dementia. With the help of a trusted family member or friend, find a doctor who specializes in dementia. If you don’t have a friend or family member you can trust, contact the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association or the Dementia Map to find resources in your area. Once you have a competent doctor on board, listen to them and follow their instructions regarding medications, exercise, memory clinics, clinical trials, and so on. Your health professional will help you live your best life with dementia and hopefully prolong the early stages of the disease.

Resolve to work with your caregiver.

Know that your caregiver has your best interests at heart. Their job is to assist you with routine care, which involves helping you to remember the basics. Don’t take it personally if, for instance, they tag along on a shopping trip, refuse to leave you at home alone, or help you to remember appointments. They are there for you and can help you be your best self and live your best life.

In your cognitive health journey, we wish you well in 2022. Happy New Year!

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Note: Alzheimer’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Alzheimer’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Alzheimer’s disease.

Comments

Faye Fouladi avatar

Faye Fouladi

An Alzheimer's patient doesn't remember their new year resolution.

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Ray Burow avatar

Ray Burow

Hi Faye,

It's true. In the latter stages, loved ones with Alzheimer's disease don't detect one day, year, or moment from another. However, in the early stages, or for those first diagnosed with dementia or mild cognitive impairment and still navigating their affairs, making resolutions in the immediate can be helpful to them and also to their caregivers. In recent weeks and months, we've seen an increase in the number of people with early diagnosis reading the column and contacting us. The advice is for them. Caregivers often face pushback when trying to assist a wife, husband, or parent, convincing them to be diagnosed or convincing them of assistance. If we can encourage someone in the early stages to trust someone they've always trusted, it will be helpful to both the caregiver and loved one receiving care. However, you are correct. Down the road, they won't remember, but in the early days, when caregivers and receiving pushback regarding the diagnosis, such a resolution might be of assistance.

Thank you for your comment and for being part of our community.
Happy New Year!

Ray

Reply
Jack Anderson avatar

Jack Anderson

Thanks for the chance to join in the fight .

Reply
Ray Burow avatar

Ray Burow

Hello Jack,

Thank you for fighting alongside us. Alzheimer's disease isn't a fraternity anyone wants to join. However, we'll take all the fighters we can get!
Stand strong! Fight on!

Ray

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