Tips For Caring For A Partner With Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease

When your partner has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, your relationship can go through a series of changes. At some point, you will most likely serve as one of the caregivers for your partner. Taking on the role of caregiver is challenging and can be emotionally and physically taxing. If your partner has early-onset Alzheimer's, here are some caregiver tips to keep in mind. 

Focus on Communication

As the disease progresses, you and your partner might experience challenges with communication. As a result, both of you can feel frustration and anger. Developing a way to communicate with each other can help to alleviate some of the stress associated with the disease. 

For instance, you and your partner can choose a signal or cue that can be used when he or she needs help. The disease can result in a loss of some independence. Your partner can resent the loss and feel uncomfortable accepting help. With the help of a signal, you can avoid overstepping and potentially prevent an argument or further feelings of frustration.

Talking with your partner about what he or she is feeling will become more difficult as the disease progresses, but it is important that you attempt to communicate as long as it is possible. Be open to talking about your partner's needs and experiences. By being available to talk about challenges, you can help your partner develop a plan to overcome them. 

Know When to Get Help

Even though you might feel prepared to handle all of the obstacles that come with early-onset Alzheimer's, there will be a point at which help is needed. If you fail to reach out for help, you could experience burnout. Burnout can impact your ability to care for your partner and leave both of you drained. 

There are many professional in-home options for helping your partner. For instance, you could contract with a home health agency to provide in-home assistance with daily living tasks, such as bathing and dressing. If medical intervention is needed, there are agencies that can provide in-home services. 

At some point, it might be necessary to move your partner into an assisted living facility. When making this decision, involve your partner as much as possible. Ideally, both of you should discuss this possibility in the early stages of the disease. 

By involving your partner early on, he or she can help with deciding which facility is best. Your partner's input helps you to know that you have made the right decision, which can help you avoid feelings of guilt.