This question is being asked more frequently these days and quite frankly- with good reason! Diagnoses of Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias are skyrocketing as the Baby Boomers get older, even though it is very tricky to diagnose and still has no cure. As the disease progresses, helping and caring for an Alzheimer’s patient can become much more difficult. What are we supposed to do? Here are a few tips:
- Enter their reality and stop fighting them to come back to yours! It is frustrating that Mom thinks it’s 1968 and Uncle Bill is gone away to war. But arguing with her about it is not helpful. It will only confuse her and make her upset. Just ask open-ended questions about the situation and see where it takes her.
- Make the environment as comfortable as possible. If Dad wants to sit at the kitchen table for hours on end, LET HIM! Just make sure you have a cushion on the chair and familiar items around him like his favorite coffee mug and maybe old photo’s of close friends and family (just try not to quiz him about who is in the photo—you’re not helping “jog his memory,” you’re only frustrating him!).
- Start looking for the right type of care. Some experts say that Alzheimer’s Disease affects the caregivers more than the actual victim! It can be draining and you need to take care of yourself in order to provide the love and affection they still desire. Yes, it might be time to let someone else be the caregiver and time for you to go back to being a loving spouse or child or other family member.
At Danbury, we know that making a permanent move can be difficult, that’s why we offer short-term “respite” stays for our friends with Alzheimer’s. This gives you a chance to take a break for a few days or a few weeks. It’s a great way to see how it might work out in the long run.
As with all of our Alzheimer’s friends and families, there are many questions. We are happy to answer them and help in every way we can. Give us a call any time, we’d love to hear from you!