When someone you love is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it is not only overwhelming for them, but it also affects those around them. Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease that causes a disruption in communication among neurons, ultimately causing a loss of motor skills and memory. This can feel incredibly devastating as the disease progresses differently for everyone. While it is not curable, there are things that you can do to support them and improve their quality of life as their disease progresses.
Read more to see how to support a loved one with Alzheimer’s:
Keep Things Simple
People who suffer from Alzheimer’s thrive on maintaining a routine. By sticking to a schedule, they can understand what to expect in their daily life. As the disease progresses, they will eventually lose the ability to carry out this routine and will depend on others to help them. Rather than doing everything for them, try doing this task together. It may seem frustrating because you know you can do the task faster and more efficiently, but in doing this, you may cause them to lose confidence and they won’t want to help at all. By helping them carry out their daily activities, you’ll also help to ease their transition as the disease progresses.
Set Reminders for Them
Those with Alzheimer’s often forget to care for themselves, even with simple tasks like eating, going to the bathroom, and bathing. During the early stages of the disease, try writing notes for them to provide easy reminders. It can be as simple as placing a note in the bathroom reminding them to brush their teeth. Make sure that you leave all emergency contacts right by the phone. It may help to label the cupboards so that they can remember what items are stored within them. It’s also important to set medication reminders so that they are able to maintain their overall health while dealing with this disease.
Offer Emotional Support
Being there for someone with Alzheimer’s demands an immense amount of patience. Alzheimer’s affects a person’s feelings and physical responses so it’s crucial that you recognize and respond in an appropriate manner. People with the disease require specific care as they are often unable to control their emotions and may become irritable, prone to mood changes, or uninterested and distant for no reason. Strong feelings are often a result of needs not being met. Ensure that you are communicating with your loved one regularly to make them feel cared for.
Engage with Them Regularly
Even though it may not always be easy to engage with someone suffering from Alzheimer’s, it is extremely beneficial for them. Continuing to nourish your relationship and finding new ways to support them will add to their quality of life. Try doing things together, like going for a walk, getting groceries, or having coffee to help them stay active and prevent feelings of isolation. Communicating with the person may change depending on how the disease affects the brain. Keep the pathway for discussion open and continually ask them how they are doing. Be open to their new expressions and thoughts as it will be important for them to feel understood.