Alzheimer’s Disease can be tough to see. It’s something that many older adults develop, and medical science does not have a cure for it. It’s a progressive disease that destroys not just the memory but also other vital mental functions.
While it’s hard on the family members who have to see their relative wasting away, you can imagine how much more challenging it is for the afflicted individual. Let’s talk about a few of the ways you can help out your family member with Alzheimer’s as much as possible.
You Can Be Patient with Them
Common symptoms of Alzheimer’s occur when patients repeat themselves. It’s one of the disease’s telltale signs. The individual will not remember they told you a particular story or anecdote, and they might repeat it many times while in your presence.
It would be easy to snap at the person or tell them harshly that they’ve told you that story before. Patience is one thing you need more than anything else when dealing with an Alzheimer’s patient. Remember that they have no control over the disease, and it does no good to get mad.
You can either gently say to them that they’ve mentioned the story to you before, or else you can allow them to tell it. If you feel like saying to them that they’ve told you the story before will upset them, it’s best if you just let them repeat it. It’s one of the ways they’re trying to hold onto their remaining faculties.
You Can Be Sure Someone Is There for Them at All Times
Alzheimer’s, and indeed any dementia form, can be frightening for the patient. They might have lucid moments, but if the disease has progressed, there will be times when they’re not sure who or where they are. They might not recognize the people around them either, even if it’s friends or family.
While that’s heartbreaking, it’s vital that there be someone around the patient at all times, so they do not hurt themselves. Maybe your relative with Alzheimer’s lives in a nursing home or assisted living facility. If so, you should make sure it’s an excellent facility where there are well-trained, compassionate staff members who can help your relative any time they need it.
If they live with you, you should always have someone else in the house who can help your relative if they have a particularly bad episode. Even if they don’t necessarily recognize the person who is there assisting them, that individual can make sure they don’t fall, burn themselves, or any of the other things that can happen with dementia patients.
You Can Cherish the Lucid Moments Together
Part of Alzheimer’s Disease is that in the later stages, there is usually not that much of the person left who you remember. A part of the old version is still in there, but it doesn’t come to the surface very much.
This is what caretakers mean when they say their patient has good and bad days. On a good day, the individual might retain some lucidity for a few hours.
If that happens, the person might recognize the condition in which they find themselves. They may very well be sad about it. However, they should at least feel glad there’s someone there taking care of them, particularly if it is a blood relation or someone to whom they feel a bond.
In those lucid moments, you can enjoy your relative’s company. You can talk about the past, current events, or anything you feel will make them content. These are happy moments that you and your afflicted relative can savor together.
You Can Do Chores for Them
If you do live with your older relative with Alzheimer’s, you’ll probably need to take care of them in various ways as the disease progresses. You may need to dress and undress them, bathe them, and help them clean their room.
You might do some additional housework to make sure they have a clean, well-maintained living space. You can cook their meals so they’ll have nutritious food to eat. If they’re still able to exercise at all, you can help them do that as well.
It won’t be easy seeing your loved one go through this. You’ll need to be strong and be there for them as they navigate this life phase. They might thank you for it, or they may not, but you can be sure they’re grateful.