1. Educate yourself about Alzheimer’s disease. Learn about its effects and how to respond.
2. Stay in touch. A card, a call or a visit means a lot and shows you care.
3. Be patient. Adjusting to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is an ongoing process and each person reacts differently.
4. Offer a shoulder to lean on. The disease can create stress for the entire family. Simply offering your support and friendship is helpful.
5. Engage the person with dementia in conversation. It’s important to involve the person in conversation even when his or her ability to participate becomes more limited.
6. Offer to help the family with its to-do list. Prepare a meal, run an errand or provide a ride.
7. Engage family members in activities. Invite them to take a walk or participate in other activities.
8. Offer family members a reprieve. Spend time with the person living with dementia so family members can go out alone or visit with friends.
9. Be flexible. Don’t get frustrated if your offer for support is not accepted immediately. The family may need time to assess its needs.
10. Support the Alzheimer’s cause. You can join in the fight against the disease by volunteering at your local Alzheimer’s Association office, participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and the Longest Day, advocating for more research funding and signing up for clinical studies as a healthy volunteer. For more information, visit alz.org.