Alzheimer’s disease can be hard on the patient and sometimes harder on the family members. This disease is slow and develops gradually over the years, but it eventually reaches a point where people just can’t communicate with the afflicted individual and must learn how to work around it.
This can be a very trying and stressful time for the loved ones and a very confusing time for the patient. At 360 Healthcare, we believe that a little caution and some understanding can help people deal with the situation better. Here are some tips that can help:
1. Recognize the signs early
Some people don’t recognize the signs of Alzheimer’s disease and therefore aren’t prepared to handle it. Catching it early can help slow down the progress and prepare the family for the problem as well. Here are some of the signs you need to look out for:
• One of the first signs is the inability to name objects or to find the right words for them. For example, an individual will recognize a pen and know what function it performs, but they might not be able to identify that it’s called a pen.
• Their ability to speak or grasp a language weakens over time and they won’t be able to provide specific details.
• Individuals afflicted by Alzheimer’s will also have a very hard time trying to learn new things.
• Selective aspects of their memory will be affected because memories are stored in different parts of the brain.
When you spot these signs, it’s time to consult with the doctor and understand the options available to you.
2. Focus on the present
This is the most pressing concern of individuals affected by Alzheimer’s. They don’t remember the past well and aren’t able to comprehend the concept of the future, so they only focus on the present. This means it’s important for the caretaker to focus on their current situation and comfort.
3. Don’t take things personally
People suffering from Alzheimer’s rarely have control over their actions and words. They don’t have control over their judgment either, and can’t distinguish between right and wrong. Caregivers shouldn’t take anything the patients say or do personally because they are impaired. Some people will rebel and say harsh words out of frustration, lack of control, and anger. That’s one of the reasons why it’s essential to stay calm and help the patient work through their anger instead of becoming angry as well.
4. Other important advice
• Kicking, biting, slapping and other such aggressive behavior is a sign of discomfort. Stop whatever you’re doing when the patient responds with aggressiveness.
• Communicate through body language when verbal language becomes ineffective.
• Avoid using negative words and focus on the positive.
If you have any questions about home care for Alzheimer’s and how to assist people suffering from it, don’t hesitate to call us at 360 Healthcare. You can reach our Palm Beach office on (561) 400-0505 and Treasure Coast office on (772) 340-2299.