4 Things About Life With Alzheimer's That Patients Want You to Know
7 minute read
People start to panic when they begin misplacing items and forgetting things. Memory loss scares most of us and is an inevitable part of getting older.
As upsetting as forgetting the occasional date may be, Alzheimer’s and permanent memory loss is one of the things we fear most as we get older. Alzheimer’s can reduce quality of life, but for those suffering, there are a few things that can make life meaningful in the end.
The Impact of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s affects millions across the world and can be devastating to the individual suffering as well as their loved ones. Patience, support, and encouragement are key factors you must focus on when your loved one has Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s patients just want to live as normal a life as possible. Every case of Alzheimer’s is unique, and it can be frustrating to those afflicted when they are treated the same as other patients. While someone may not be able to hold a conversation, others can talk to you for hours.
As the disease progresses, memory loss gets worse, which would cause agitation for anyone. It is important to understand that each stage is different, so you know best how to care for your loved ones without causing them additional stress.
Things You Don’t Know but Should
For the most part, those suffering from Alzheimer’s will be aware of their conditions and symptoms. They will notice their symptoms more than you, and this can be frustrating and depressing.
The changes to you may be subtle, but to the person experiencing them, they can be devastating. Always assume that your loved one knows how they feel and listen to what they need.
1. Stop Reminding Them
Memory loss is a horrible thing, but sometimes forgetting that your loved ones have died can be beneficial. The loss of loved ones is devastating, so think about how you would feel to relive that devastation over and over again.
Each time you remind an Alzheimer’s patient about a tragedy from their past, they have to live the pain over again like new. Rather than continuing to tell them about a lost friend or family member, take them for a walk to help find the person they seek.
In this way, you are sharing their world with them and protecting them from unnecessary stress.
2. They Are More Capable Than You Think
In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, people can still perform most daily tasks, including driving a car. There are even apps available now to help people remember appointments and how to get around.
One of the biggest fears with Alzheimer’s is losing independence, so it is important to let patients do as much as they can for as long as they can. Allowing them to make decisions also helps them stay involved and protects the dignity they are afraid of losing.
It is also important to remember that as daily tasks get harder, you don’t just take over. You can help your loved ones with the tasks, but still, keep them involved. Being an active member in their own life goes a long way in living a more meaningful life.
Alzheimer’s patients do not want to be isolated and forgotten about. We often assume they are withdrawn when they become quiet, but this is a coping mechanism as they try and understand the changes they are going through.
The worst thing to do is isolate a patient with Alzheimer’s, as they not only enjoy socializing, but it benefits their overall well-being. Isolation only further contributes to their disablement and can worsen the condition.
When it comes to socializing, it is important to avoid noisy and chaotic places. Loud restaurants can be overwhelming and make it difficult to have a conversation, which only adds to the frustration. Trying to recall information is difficult enough when you have Alzheimer’s, it doesn’t need to be made worse by a chaotic environment.
4. Share Enjoyable Things
Alzheimer’s affects the memory but not the person. Your loved one will still enjoy all the things they always have, so make sure you keep doing them.
If they love drawing or dancing, make sure to keep them involved in those activities, as they will bring happiness and peace to an otherwise frustrating situation.
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Listening to music has also been shown to help relax patients, especially in the middle to late stages of the disease. Music is often used as a way to reach individuals that have become less verbal, as it seems to “awaken” them. In fact, music can have cognitive benefits for anyone.
The Road Ahead With Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s can affect anybody, and since there is no known cause, it is difficult to predict. This doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared.
Delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s or treating early signs can go a long way in promoting health and allowing individuals to achieve meaningful lives. The role that inflammation plays in Alzheimer’s gives us one advantage in that we can control inflammation which exacerbates symptoms.
| Related: Could Chronic Inflammation Be Raising Your Alzheimer’s Risk? |
Following an anti-inflammatory diet is one way to go, as well as getting regular exercise, watching your weight, and controlling stress. In addition to this, you can start a turmeric supplement to help relieve inflammation and protect your brain from early degeneration.
Supporting your loved ones physically and emotionally is the best approach to dealing with Alzheimer’s and giving life back to them.
The Bottom Line
Living with Alzheimer’s can be frustrating, but you need to remember that it is only worse for the individual. Your loved one is still the same person and deserves love, respect, and your patience to help them through this debilitating disease.
Alzheimer’s patients can live meaningful lives with your support, so the more you can see things from their perspective, the happier everyone can be.