Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.
Disorientation will eventually require elders to modify their professional activities. If a family is depending on the salary of the Alzheimer’s patient, arrangements will need to be made to compensate for the eventual loss of income. Finding support and assistance can make a big difference in the life of a family member dealing with Alzheimer’s in a loved one.
A reputable In-Home Care agency can provide occasional respite care and additional support in the home when needed.
One of the hardest parts of dealing with Alzheimer’s disease is knowing that an elder will never get better. The disease causes cognitive deterioration, and while this process can be slowed, there is currently no way to cure it. The progression can be difficult for families because even though they can enjoy the remaining time with their relative, there is no hope that they will recover. Understanding the disease makes it easier for families and sufferers to cope with the progression of the illness and help them make the most of the time remaining with their family member.
While short term memory loss is the most obvious sign of dementia, an elder may deal with a variety of other consequences due to their Alzheimer’s disease.
Patients may be fatigued and no longer have the ability to do many of the physical activities they used to enjoy. It can be difficult for Alzheimer’s patients to maintain their appearance, which leads to lower self-esteem. Elders are often moody and depressed as a result of a suffering self-image. They may withdraw from social activities, and it can be challenging to encourage them to maintain personal relationships. Those who are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s may understand something is changing within them and they may be embarrassed by their early bouts with the disease.
People who were previously capable and earning a living outside the home may find that their ability to work may be diminished as a result of the disease. The length of time someone suffering from early dementia can remain in their job may depend on their profession.
Family members may find they are frustrated and impatient with their loved ones suffering from dementia. It can take extra time for Alzheimer’s patients to complete trivial tasks that previously came easy. While relatives may have patience with the younger children in their life, they may not understand that senior relatives need the same courtesy. The disease can leave everyone in the family feeling frustrated, angry, and depressed. Finding support and assistance can make a big difference in the life of a family dealing with Alzheimer’s. In the North Bay, Sequoia Senior Solutions provides in-home caregivers that allow families to continue to care for their loved one, while getting occasional respite care and additional support in the home when needed.
Alzheimer’s disease cannot be cured. However, a family can take measures that make the transitions and changes easier to cope with. The most important thing for family members to do if an elder has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is to learn as much as possible about the disease. Knowing what to expect, and speaking with doctors about slowing the progression of the disease, can make the early stages much easier. Its important to encourage elders to stay active and continue to do things they enjoy. Just because a diagnosis has been made does not mean their life is over.
Relatives and elders should speak with their family physician. They should not hesitate to ask questions and gather information. Beforehand, they should jot down anything they would like to ask. They should review long- and short-term options, get an otherwise clean bill of health, and then make the most of their time together. Most communities or hospitals and medical centers offer support services. Elders may appreciate being able to interact with others who are dealing with the disease. Even if they do not have a desire to seek the help of others, the family may benefit. Managing the stress of the disease helps family members stay healthy and be a more effective at caregiving. If they allow stress to build up, they will feel worse. Knowing that time with their loved one is precious and limited, they should try not to spend it feeling angry and resentful. Its important to organize a routine for the Alzheimer’s patient, support them as much as possible, and turn to others in similar situations when it all feels like it is too much.
The information in the article is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.
Additional article link: Ellen and Douglas Rosenberg Foundation Awards $3.5 Million for Alzheimer’s Drug Development