If you’re on pins and needles because of worry, stop it! You will always question yourself. Caregivers will always panic about whether the job they’re doing is adequate. As I mentioned before, learn from your mistakes. This is not a science. Patients vary from one to another.

Taking care of a memory-impaired person is exhausting and emotionally draining. You’ll know when you’re about to hit the wall. Don’t argue with yourself, find a way to take a break or everything will start to overwhelm you. When you get a chance to get away, go, but try not to spend too much time alone. When I had time to escape, one of my main goals was to refrain from repeating myself 30 times a night. I looked for normal conversation, in which I was not required to answer the same question more then twice.

Sadly, you might notice that your phone rings less and less and when you do see old friends, they don’t seem to know what to say anymore. Don’t take it personally. The average person doesn’t have a notion as to what you’re going through. At first you will still be invited to go here and there, but after declining time and time again “because it’s so hard to get away,” those invitations start becoming extremely scarce. You’ll find yourself outside the loop. The social life you once enjoyed has most likely diminished to just a few outings a month at best. Make the most of them. Try to surround yourself with positive people. The responsibility of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is enormous! You need an interruption from all the depression and strain this disease entails.

The endurance and strength required is tremendous. You have to reach deep inside yourself and pull that endurance out. It’s in there, believe me.

Fortunately, I have a sister who helped me when she was able and constantly told me I was doing a terrific job. If nobody is telling you this, say it to yourself. Heck, yell it out your front door! I’m not going to kid you, this was the hardest thing I ever did in my life, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. By keeping my dad in a run-of-the-mill routine lifestyle during his disease, I was amazed by how well he managed.

Your Alzheimer’s patient needs to be on a simple beaten path. The sooner you establish this familiar trail, the easier it will be to care for your memory-impaired friend.

Forget about any mistakes you make. You’re better off looking toward the humor in the situation. It’s there.

Always remember: it’s always better to laugh than to cry.