Alzheimer’s is a progressive mental disorder that takes years to develop. Symptoms begin small, and sporadic. It may begin with small behaviors that are unusual or forgetful. Some early symptoms include.
Memory loss that effects daily life. Challenges with problem solving, or completing tasks at home. Confusion with times and places. Misplacing things, trouble retracing steps, trouble with memory. Mood and personality changes
Aging does come with slow mental degradation, but there is a difference between age related memory loss and the significant effects of Alzheimer’s. With Alzheimer’s, the symptoms are chronic, and often dangerous. It appears as a memory loss that makes it impossible for a person to manage their own lives. I have laid down some tips if your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Don’t Avoid Reality
Denial can aggravate reality for you and your loved one. It has the power to create more suffering and confusion than necessary. The first step to addressing denial is to allow yourself and your family to absorb information about the disease. Denial is accompanied with grief, anger, and avoidance. Anger and grief can perpetuate behavioral changes in your loved one. They become very sensitive to anger or frustration. In order to help them along, be sure to address your own grieving. Seeking professional help, like therapy, or a caregiver support group are wonderful ways to correct denial. It helps to talk about the situation with a professional who may be able to guide you to an understanding or awakening that is necessary as you embark on this time.
Don’t Argue With Them
People with Alzheimer’s or dementia have avid imaginations. They often fabricate stories, recall events with their own twist, or may even address you as if you were still a young child. These occasions are common, what is more common is having someone tell you a ridiculous account of an even, or not make any sense at all. It does no one any good in arguing. It can aggravate your loved one and inspire an argument that would ruin the time you could have together. I recommend agreeing with your loved one, even if they aren’t making any sense. This is all in an attempt to keep the peace and prevent your loved one from getting carried away with aggravation or discomfort.
Don’t Delay Proper Care
One of the most heartbreaking realizations often discovered is the inability to keep a promise. Our loved one’s have often pleaded, “whatever happens, don’t put me in a nursing home.” We made promises to our parents growing up, saying that they would be safe with us at home, and that we would make sure they were okay. They heard horror stories of senior living facilities and wanted to avoid it. There comes a time where we have to be honest (don’t be in denial) about the safety and care of our loved one. I am not saying that a senior home is the only solution but making sure your loved one is properly cared for and watched after is priority. If you chose to keep your loved one at home, make sure there is a care partner and a nurse available to them at all times. Caretakers have lives too, and most importantly, must take care of themselves. If the disease has surpassed a certain point, where the loved one is unmanageable, or un safe—a senior home would be the best option for them.
Feel free to reach out about any concerns or questions about caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia. If you need support, call me. Make sure to take care of yourself—it’s okay to ask for help. Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be difficult and emotionally draining. It is important to remember that there is support if you need it.