No one can truly be prepared to deal with Alzheimer’s care. However, there are certainly steps that you can take to help you deal with the disease and the degeneration of your loved one’s condition. Watching someone you love and care about face this devastating condition will likely test your patience and will, but there are some important things to keep in mind with regard to the disease.
Maintain a Positive Relationship. It may be difficult at times, especially if your loved one loses his or her temper, becomes agitated more easily, and seems to have less patience, but that isn’t about any issues between the relationship you’ve had with them through the years. There are cognitive changes going on and a loss of memory and that can be frightening as well as frustrating. Remaining positive with him or her, even when you don’t quite feel like it, can help calm situations as they arise.
Continue to be Positive around Your Loved One. Related to the previous section, no matter what you’re feeling at the time, being positive around an Alzheimer’s patient is important. They are facing a challenge that most of us can barely fathom, so keeping an upbeat attitude will help lift theirs as well.
Look for Triggers. Your parent or other loved one who is dealing with Alzheimer’s, will likely have emotional outbursts from time to time. This can range from quiet sulking in a room and not wanting to see anyone to violent protests, throwing things, calling people names, and more. Some of the time these behavioral outbursts won’t have a trigger, but more often than not they will.
Look for those triggers and if you recognize them, you will be able to reduce the chances of a repeat episode in the future. For example, if the Alzheimer’s patient suddenly becomes aggressive, throwing things in their room, taking swings at people before family time, and it happens more often than not, then it could be the recreational activity or someone who is there that upsets this individual.
Don’t force someone to do something they don’t have any interest in. It’s easy to say, “Come on, Dad, you’ll enjoy it. Besides, you should get out more often,” but that essentially removes more independence from that person. You may worry about them and want them to do more, but ultimately it’s their decision.
Alzheimer’s care can tax and test not only the primary caregiver, but also the rest of the family. The more you know about the disease, the better able you’ll be to provide the best support and care for that individual.
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