With the increasing number of Alzheimer diagnoses, many wonder how to help understand an Alzheimers person. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the disease is now the seventh-leading cause of death in the U.S. As Alzheimer’s progresses, the patient’s ability to care for himself declines and becomes more dependent on others. Learning about the disease and understanding the person is important to provide the best care possible.
- Keep in mind that the disease is not the person’s fault. That does not mean that you won’t feel overwhelmed and frustrated at times. Accept the fact that your loved one’s limitations will increase and will require more time and attention. Additionally, as your loved one’s memory loss worsens, you may find yourself having to repeat the same things numerous times. Understand the he’s not doing things to upset you and may not even realize how upsetting his behavior is to you. Often, Alzheimer’s patients are not even aware of their increasing memory loss.
- Treat the Alzheimer’s person with respect, love and affection. Although an Alzheimer’s patient may not seem responsive, he still needs positive attention. If neglected or mistreated, he can experience feelings of rejection and grief.
- Prevent a cycle of negative behavior as much as possible. To accomplish this, acknowledge the person’s positive behavior. Avoid arguing with the person. Continue to show love and compassion even if your loved one’s actions appear demanding or irrational.
- Take a break. Caring for a patient with dementia requires a tremendous amount of time and energy. If not careful, you can become overwhelmed stressed out. If you’re the only caregiver, enlist the help of other family members or friends. Find a friend that can care for your family member for a day or a weekend. This will give some much needed rest and time to recreate yourself. If you take a break, you will be in a much better position to care for your loved one with Alzheimer’s.
Caring for a patient with dementia is never easy, particularly when you observe your family member’s abilities decline. Besides the physical demands that this puts on you, as the caregiver, you also have to cope with the sense of loss and grief. However, it’s important to always treat the person with love and affection. Remember that taking time off for yourself is not selfish. It will help you provide better care for your loved one.