Whether it is a parent, friend, or loved one, Alzheimer’s disease has affected many of us.
As the most common type of Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by a person’s gradual loss of memory, ability to problem solve, and reason. Once, only associated with the elderly, there has recently been cases of individuals being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s as young as 50. Even though the etiology is unknown at this time, many scientists believe that there are genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that contribute to Alzheimer’s onset.
Yes, Alzheimer’s disease is very hard for the individual going through the disease, watching and trying to understand what is happening. However, the individual is not the only person who is suffering during this time. Family, friends and loved ones grasp at ways to maintain hope and stability while caring for the person going through the stages of Alzheimer’s disease. While there are some medications that help slow the effects of the disease, it tends to be a progressive disease where individuals forget how to do simple tasks and develop behavior problems. So, the question is… What to do?
The best starting place for family and friends is to informed! Knowing the stages of Alzheimer’s and being aware of how it may affect their loved one will eliminate some surprises in the process. Being informed allows you to prepare for your loved one’s physical, memory and personality changes.
When your loved one’s memory starts failing, their safety will be compromised. From forgetting to turn off the stove, to leaving doors unlocked, there are many safety concerns your loved one will face. Often, family and friends bring in the help of a home health care company. Home health allows for the individual to remain in a familiar place, their own home. Utilizing a licensed caregiver will give assistance to bathing, dressing, transportation, and medication reminders so that family and loved ones can enjoy spending quality time with loved ones
Rugs, sharp corners, low seated chairs all become an extra obstacle for people suffering with Alzheimer’s. Rugs often become a tripping hazard or a source of distraction on the floor. Sharp corners need to be covered, consider buying chairs with higher seats (easier to get up from), make sure locks are secure, medications are stored away and even consider taking off locks in inside rooms such as bathrooms to prevent them from from locking themselves inside.
Just because they have Alzheimer’s disease, doesn’t mean they don’t want to have fun. Try to involve your loved one in their favorite activities, whether it is a game of BINGO, going to the park, playing sports or knitting. Engaging in physical activity stimulates the brain and maintains strength.
This is one of the hardest things to avoid! Alzheimer’s and other dementias typically have a slow onset, where people forget here are there. Sometimes they can see they are forgetting, and sometimes they can’t. Saying “Don’t you remember” can frustrate the person with dementia and can often upset them, because they know they can’t recall accurately on demand. Instead try using affirmative phrases like “Yes mom, you already brushed your teeth”, “No dad, we have not eaten dinner yet”. Using simple phrases, in a calm voice can make a world of difference in communicating with your loved one where people have sporadic memory loss.
One of the best things about a support group, is realizing that you are not alone! There are many people going through this same situation and would love to have your input, experience and share what you are going through. You can gain much encouragement and knowledge when you attend one of these meetings. You will leave with confidence, that you will make it through this touch time, because you have seen other people make it through.
If looking for a caregiver, consulting, or someone just to talk to about how Alzheimer’s is affecting your loved one, please contact us: