Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the states. The statistics of data has significantly increased in the past decade reaching 145%. With this influx of sufferers, it is safe to say that it’s a disease that affects more than those suffering. Over 5.8 million citizens are diagnosed with the disease, but above the patient, their loved ones are dealing with a lot as well. Taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be challenging, but with the following advice, you may find peace in the situation. You are never alone in this journey, and for as long as you keep your perspective on optimism, you will help your loved one with Alzheimer’s tremendously.
10 Things to Make Life Better When a Loved One Suffers From Alzheimer’s
#1. Create a Routine
Familiarity is key when taking care of a loved one with this disease. Timing is crucial to always be consistent, as changes can be triggering for them. Every day should have activities that keep their mind moving to challenge their memory to keep working. The hardest part of Alzheimer’s is the deterioration of their brain cells and the memories that gradually go away. Try not to focus on what they are forgetting and find gratitude for the things they are still able to retain. This will not only help them but you keep a hopeful mindset despite the struggles.
#2. Leave Notes around The House
Leaving notes, pictures, or pieces of art that can trigger their memory can really help stimulate their minds. Positive affirmations that you get to read as well can also help you stay positive throughout this difficult time. Even simple signs that lead them to the bathroom, kitchen, or room can be helpful for them. This enables them to feel self-sufficient, as it can be frustrating sometimes to always have to seek for help.
#3. Be Decisive
When it comes to the treatment your loved one will experience, being decisive will be your best friend. Making the most of the time is what will serve to their benefit and yours. Some treatment recommendations may not serve to their best interest while sometimes embarking on new treatment will. Know what is best for them and you will make the right decisions when the time comes.
#4. Never Dismiss Their Fears
Those with Alzheimer’s tend to be triggered more easily especially during the night time. There will be instances when they will think an intruder is entering the premises and will act out. Don’t dismiss their fears rather take this opportunity to converse with them and calm them down. Depending on the severity of their situation, every chance you get to speak to them, take it and cherish every moment.
#5. Seek Support
There will be times in this new life where you will need to vent what you’re going through to a group of people who understand. There are support groups for loved ones who are taking care of Alzheimer patients. Going to these meetings can help you remind yourself that this journey isn’t one you have to go on alone.
#6. Positive Reinforcement
Celebrating the little successes can really go a long way. Showing how proud you are to see progress in your loved one’s life can help their fight be a lot less scary by focusing on the good. Being vocal on how their progress is making you feel will also encourage them to keep at it.
#7. Repetition Memory Exercises
Doing any memory exercise and turning it into a fun game will not only help them retain memory longer but also allow you to bond with them more. Instead of the regular card games to sustain memory, try playing the games that they love the most. The more you do the activities they love, the more they will be able to recall memories that are tied to them.
#8. Plan Ahead
As difficult as it may be, planning ahead will really make things feel better. Expecting the worst but hoping for the best is the smartest way to ensure you don’t get overwhelmed. Knowing your finances on what needs to get paid for and what the insurance can take care of will help to lessen inevitable stresses.
#9. Find Peace
Although a lot easier said than done, when you actively try to find peace in a not so peaceful situation, you will too an extent get what you seek. Whether it’s through exercise, meditation, art, or any therapeutic activity, do what brings a level of calmness to your life. Actively try to find moments in your day where you can remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. Being aware of your emotions is the best way to overcome them. Never be afraid to show vulnerability, as you have every right to feel human during these tough times.
#10. Be Patient
Lastly, finding inner patience will truly help in the long run. There will be many moments where you feel like giving up, but never let that frustration get the best of you. Find time for yourself when you can, because when you’re not at able to take care of yourself, you’ll never be able to support your loved one fully and wholeheartedly. When you take time for yourself, life will feel less stressful.
Also, further researching on the topic and learning about others’ experiences going through this can help alleviate feeling alone. You are not the first individual to have a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s sadly, and you won’t be the last.
With the right mindset, a solid routine, and a lot of understanding, you will be able to take care of your loved one with Alzheimer’s with ease. There will be moments you want to just give up, but the constant reminders throughout your day of love will overpower any fears. Trust your doctors and find refuge in educating yourself as much as possible on this topic. The more you know, the more you will be able to deal with everything with a level head.