By Andrew Stratton Submitted On December 16, 2015
Receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease comes with a set of complex and difficult emotions for both the patient and his or her loved ones. Patients, family, friends, and caretakers go through a formidable process of both planning and grief. However, there is hope in this confusing time. The disease has received a great deal of study in recent years. Now, we better understand the progression of the condition and how to provide the best Alzheimer’s care.
Remaining at Home
Many patients and caregivers prefer to keep their loved one in the home for as long as is possible. This condition, as it progresses, impairs not only memory, but a person’s ability to make good choices, their executive reasoning and function skills, and their ability to take care of his or herself.
However, each individual is unique and may present symptoms differently than someone else. Some common issues include becoming frustrated or agitated when a circumstance is confusing, the inability to concentrate or focus, not being able to recognize caregivers, becoming afraid or angry, refusing to eat or bathe, or becoming depressed and anxious at routine changes.
Some individuals may lose their inhibitions while others may become withdrawn. In every case, the expression of the disease is as unique as the individual. Alzheimer’s care must be adaptive, bending to the patient’s unique needs.
To maintain an active mind and a patient’s dignity, it is important that a patient be able to make simple choices, perform tasks, and get exercise. Crafts, puzzles, video games, or music are fantastic activities that exercise the mind. Walks, dancing, or easy household chores are ways to use the body in order to stay healthy.
When the person is agitated, it is best not to argue or insist, with the exception of an unsafe activity or action. Rather, agree, distract, or move on to another subject. While it may at times be heart-wrenching to be called by another name or have a loved one insist on a detail that is untrue, it is far kinder and more productive to accept and lovingly agree.
When Help is Needed
When the family is unable to provide supervision around the clock, or the disease has progressed to the point where family and friends are simply incapable of providing the level of Alzheimer’s care needed, it is no longer safe for a person to remain at home. Understand that there is no shame in needing help, and that there are a wide variety of nursing options available for those struggling with this difficult condition.
Know a loved one in need of Alzheimer’s care? New Jersey residents turn to CareOne. Learn more at http://www.care-one.com/services/alzheimers-memory-care/.
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