There are approximately 5.5 million people in America with Alzheimer’s. According to Ron Brookmeyer, a professor in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s Department of Biostatistics, he expects 1 in 45 Americans will be afflicted with the disease by the middle of this century. This mass increase in cases is the reason why he calls Alzheimer’s a looming epidemic.
While researchers search for possible treatments and solutions, others are looking for ways to manage this difficult to predict disease. Lifestyle changes can make a difference as well as effective methods of communication.
The Effects of Alzheimer’s
Those with Alzheimer’s often start with mild memory loss. They walk into the kitchen and forget what they were going to do. As it progresses, they lose their short term memory. They can remember, sometimes in vivid detail, what occurred 25 years previously, but forget an activity they participated in just yesterday. Eventually, they lose their perception of space and time, getting lost in familiar places and forgetting the names and faces of close family and friends. They lose the thread of conversations and their moods can range from anxious to paranoid. All this is due to the damages occurring within their brain.
Tips on Caring for Someone with Alzheimer’s
One of the tricks associated with caring for someone with this disease is to keep it simple. That includes your words, daily routine and activities. When asking a question, make it one that requires a yes or no for an answer. When a loved one is searching for a word, allow them to try and locate it. When they look like they are getting frustrated, offer the word or phrase you believe they may be trying to communicate.
Having a daily routine helps them to feel some semblance of normalcy in their ever-changing and often confusing world. Include assurances that you are there for them; they are safe, protected and loved. If hallucinations are leaving them terrified, try to get to the core of what they are seeing. It may be shadows that drift through their home as the light begins to diminish. Knowing this, you can easily resolve the situation by putting their lights on a timer and making sure they have sufficient lighting in place. Trying to reason with them or suggesting that what they see isn’t real does little to resolve their very real fears.
When your loved one starts getting agitated, try distraction. Take a walk, play an easy to comprehend game, make their favorite food and enjoy a movie together.
Senior Care Provider
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that can last 10 plus years. If you are acting as the primary family caregiver, know that this may be a long journey. While this offers hope that treatments will become increasingly beneficial, it also involves tremendous caring on your part. Don’t forget to take time to recharge and rejuvenate and do the things you love. Consider hiring a senior care provider a few days a week. It’s a good idea to get them involved in your loved one’s care in the early stages so that your parent can get comfortable with them and the senior care provider can become a close ally and advocate through the various stages of Alzheimer’s.
If you or an aging senior are considering hiring in-home senior care in Lewisville, TX, please contact the caring staff at Ray of Sunshine today! (940) 442-5374.