Michael didn’t exactly know what to do. He hadn’t really expected to hear that word: Alzheimer’s. When his doctor sat there, at his desk, in his office, looking at Michael and his wife, he knew what was coming. He went through a lengthy series of tests and exams, and most of them were specifically designed to determine whether or not he was dealing with Alzheimer’s or possibly some other form of dementia.
He felt as though he had just lost everything.
He didn’t know how to process this information. Sure, he recognized the changes in his mental capabilities. He knew he was forgetting things he should remember. He understood he required a few different strategies to keep track of appointments and other things that were going on each day, week, month, and year, but he wanted to believe this was just a natural process of aging.
He didn’t know what to do.
He sat there in his doctor’s office listening to him for more than 30 minutes. He didn’t hear a word the doctor said. He kept thinking about the word: Alzheimer’s.
When he went home, he just wanted to be alone. His wife tried to offer encouragement and support. He didn’t want to hear it. His adult children called and stopped by. He had friends visiting. All he wanted to do was to be alone.
His family was concerned. They wanted to encourage him and to talk about this. They wanted to find out what he felt, what he was thinking, and what he planned to do.
Sometimes, people need time.
Michael had just suffered a loss. Alzheimer’s is a terminal disease and the average life expectancy is between eight and 10 years (Alzheimer’s Association). However, as the disease progresses it will steal away more memory and capability from each person diagnosed with it. At the time of diagnosis, it can feel as though the end has already arrived.
Family and friends need to be supportive. They need to step back. They need to give space to that senior to allow him or her time to absorb what has happened. Once that elderly person has accepted this new reality, then it will be time to figure out the right steps to take. Proper support, developing a routine, and staying mentally active and stimulated can all be extremely beneficial as the disease progresses.
Family emotional support and encouragement will also be crucial.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Alzheimer’s care in Mississauga, Canada, contact the caring professionals at Staff Relief Health Care 24/7 at 905.709.1767.
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