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King Farm Blog

IKF Blog
Posted: Wednesday, August 26, 2020

6 challenges and solutions: Caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s while still working

Juggling work while caregiving for a parent can be a challenge. But if your loved one has Alzheimer’s, the mountain ahead is likely steeper and much more difficult to climb.

How can you keep your footing, especially when you can’t be at home with them?  

The first step is to educate yourself. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease so you’ll need to prepare for each stage and the challenges you may face. Flexibility on your part is key.

The 3 stages of Alzheimer’s

1. Early stage

Your loved one may still live independently, go to work and drive but will notice beginning memory changes. As time passes, there will be an increasing challenge to remember names, recent events, or be able to plan and organize.

2. Middle stage

As the disease progresses your parent will need more care. Some may consider adult day centers or other in-home options. Symptoms become more pronounced and may include:

  • Memory loss

  • Confusion

  • Difficulty with daily living activities

  • Wandering or restlessness

  • Becoming angry or exhibiting violent behavior

3. Late stage

Depending on the individual, at some point 24/7 care and attention will be needed.  It can be a struggle to walk or sit up without assistance, communicate, eat or swallow. You may also notice significant changes in their personality.

6 challenges and solutions for caregiving while working

If you are the primary caregiver for a parent with Alzheimer’s there are steps you can take to help juggle your responsibilities more successfully. Considering these actions may better prepare you to keep your loved one safe and your work life secure:

1. Challenge: Will they be safe at home?

Solution: Walk through each room, looking for and removing any tripping hazards, such as cords, loose rugs or furniture that must be navigated.

Make sure the lighting in the home is sufficient and that all lights and lamps are easy to turn on. Eliminate shadows and dark areas.

Safely store away or remove dangerous tools or chemicals. If cooking is a concern, consider removing the knobs on the stove.

If possible, install a walk-in tub or shower, use decals to make slick surfaces safer and add grab bars where they might be needed.

2. Challenge: You and your parent will need help

Solution: There are resources available, so take the time to research if your area has in-home care or companionship services, housekeeping and meal deliveries. Remember, as the disease progresses, eventually, your parent won’t be able to be left alone.

You’ll most likely find your own stress increasing so look for help for yourself. Ask family members and friends if they can pitch in while you run errands or take a break. Check for available respite care in the community.

3. Challenge: Keeping your work life manageable

Solution: Managing life, work and caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s can easily become overwhelming. You’ll need to learn how to make sure your parent is safe while also keeping your mind focused on work. Splitting your concentration that way is a challenge.

You may need to schedule check-in visits while you’re at work or enroll them in a day program. Also, talk to your employer about what you have going on. Explain that you will do your best to keep both balls in the air but that there may be times when you’ll need to leave on short notice.

4. Challenge: Finding time for the rest of your life

Solution: Beyond caregiving and work, you may find there is little left for you. And not only for the chance to relax or take a vacation but often just staying on top of your other responsibilities, including paying your bills or taking care of other family members.

But as any caregiver can relate, if you don’t take care of yourself you eventually will not be able to care for your loved one. Prioritize your own physical and mental health. Find someone to talk to or join a support group to discover ways to cope with the situation and your stress.

5. Challenge: Being realistic about your loved one’s condition

Solution: It can be difficult to recognize the emotional and physical changes in your parent, especially if you see them often. You may lose sight of a subtle but continuing decline. But it’s imperative to discern when their needs may be greater than the care being offered.

Try to look ahead and prepare for the upcoming changes. Talk to your health team for options. A few signs that more help is needed can include losing the ability to dress, communicate or to eat and swallow.

6. Challenge: Understanding when it’s time to take the next step

Solution: There likely will come a time when the needs of your loved one will exceed your ability. Try to remember that the priority is for your parent to receive the best care possible. Whether that happens in their home under your supervision, bringing in home care services or helping them make a new home in a memory care community, the goal remains the same.

You’re limited in the type of around-the-clock care you can provide in their home. But a memory support community can actually increase the quality of your parent’s life. They are designed specifically to meet the needs of those who are living with a cognitive illness.

Ingleside at King Farm Memory Support Assisted Living

We understand the many challenges families face when caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. For those who are also working, it can require great flexibility and reliance on others to make sure your parent is safe.

If your parent needs more advanced care, our Memory Support Assisted Living community may be the right answer. We offer a person-centered approach with music, art, movement, pet and recreational therapy. You’ll also find:

  • A secure residential neighborhood

  • Spacious and sun-filled residences

  • Individualized therapeutic programs

  • Technology-based engagement opportunities

  • 24-hour licensed nursing, under the direction of a full time RN

  • Compassionate staff trained in the best practices of dementia care

  • All day, flexible dining, a stocked kitchen and hydration stations

  • Family support and engagement

Call (240) 455-4582 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personalized tour today.


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