When an elderly person has dementia, they lose themselves.
It’s hard on the person, his caregiver, and everyone who interacts with them.
Alzheimer’s is the most common age-related dementia. And usually affects persons over the age of 60.
When John and Mary were married in their 50s, they planned to spend their retirement traveling.
And they did just that for the first ten years of their marriage.
After several years Mary began to notice subtle changes in John.
While John was normally quiet and reserved, she noticed him becoming increasingly withdrawn.
He stopped having an interest in his usual hobbies. Traveling became stressful, as John seemed unable to adjust to new surroundings.
John seemed more forgetful lately. Before retirement he was an accountant. Now he seemed increasingly puzzled by numbers.
Alarmed, Mary took him to his doctor for an examination.
After a series of tests, his doctor found early dementia, most likely Alzheimer’s.
So what is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of age related dementia. Usually it shows up after the age of 60.
It’s a progressive debilitating disease that includes memory loss. As the disease progresses, the person affected also loses his sense of judgment and his ability to function independently.
Unfortunately it is a slow and painfully progressive process. It’s painful for both the care recipient and the caregiver.
How do you handle the day-to-day care of someone with age related dementia?
Dementia is a progressive disease.
It can be scary for both the sufferer and the caregiver. Use these tips to help cope with elder care for your loved one and help them maintain their dignity.
Look at life from their perspective.
Knowing your memories are slipping away can be scary and lead to anger.
Someone with Alzheimer’s may not understand or remember what’s happening.
Her frustration can lead to anger. Unfortunately, that anger can be directed to the one caring for her.
Is she unable to answer simple questions about her activities in the past few minutes or a particular memory?
Rather than saying she doesn’t remember, she may become argumentative. This can be part of the disease.
She may even feel like she’s being treated like a child — and not be able to explain.
She may also feel like a lost child . . .
Looking around, once-familiar objects are now unfamiliar. She may not recognize her own
house . . .clothes . . .loved ones.
Your grandmother may remember you as a child but not recognize the adult you’ve become.
Learn about their condition.
You need to prepare for what may come next.
Is he likely to become combative? Be unable to tell time? Walk out of the house clad only in pajamas?
Consult a doctor and/or other professionals who care for people and their families with dementia.
Read everything you can about their condition.
Create a script.
Suppose your grandmother gets in the habit of asking you when she can eat breakfast . . .even when she’s just finished eating supper.
Politely answer her question the way you did the three or four times she’s already asked today.
While she’s thinking about your response, ask her to help you with a task or tell you a story.
This distracts her, preventing you from getting frustrated with her for repeating herself.
Remember: She really doesn’t remember the answer!
Extra tip: If she gets the story wrong, stop yourself from always correcting her. Why? It may lead to more frustration and anger.
The fact is the person you’re caring for has a memory loss.
No amount of urging will help your loved one remember something he or she cannot.
Your patience is required to deal with the same scenarios over and over again . . .and again.
- Take a deep breath.
- Give yourself time to relax before answering the same question again.
When you notice a pattern of the questions, you can be prepared for the same question when you’re feeling tired and stressed.
It’s important to remember you’re not alone!
You may need the support of family . . .friends . . .medical professionals . . .your
church . . .support associations . . .and more.
Your individual needs are unique. Seek help and insist upon it before you become frustrated or even ill yourself.
Do you know. . . ?
While some seniors need help with bathing, eating, dressing and other activities of daily living, they may not need the 24-hour a day access to a nurse provided by a nursing home.
The services they need may be available in their home or an assisted living home or apartment. Sorting through the options can quickly become overwhelming.
Especially when you’re working full-time or trying to arrange services across the country!
Sometimes you just need help.
Click here to find elder care options for your elderly loved one.
May you have a safe caregiving journey . . .good health . . .and happiness,
Caregiving With Purpose
Source: Photo of Healthy vs normal brain courtesy of “Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center, a service of the National Institute on Aging“
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