Coping with Alzheimers
Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative and debilitating disease that robs the sufferer of their memory, cognitive function and eventually their lives. The disease affects not only the person experiencing the disease but also their family, friends and loved ones.
Coping with Alzheimers disease has an impact on the entire family and friends. The changes in the functional abilities of the sufferer to relate to the people in their daily lives has a negative impact on their relationships. Short term memory is lost. Sufferers cant remember what happened yesterday but have vivid memories of what happened 20 years previously.
Unfortunately there are no magic pills or ways to make the illness and condition more palatable for anyone. Some say that the best way to cope is to accept it and work around the problems. That, is easier said than done. Faced with the life changing events in the life of a loved one, as well as the demanding physical and emotional care, caregivers often fall into depression.
If the person suffering from Alzheimer’s has had to be placed into a nursing facility visiting can also bring about problems with coping with Alzheimers. It can be frightening and disconcerting when the one you are visiting doesn’t recognize you. The visit can be filled with emotion.
But coping with Alzheimer diagnosis isnt just for the caregiver. In the early and middle stages of the disease the person suffering knows there is something wrong. They will have periods of disorientation and loss of memories interspersed with periods of lucidity. This leads to confusion, frustration, anger, fear, grief and depression.
The caregiver can help the loved one cope with Alzheimers disease just by being present and listening to them express their fears and concerns. Helping the person to plan, provide unconditional love and helping them to retain their dignity and self-respect will go a long way toward encouraging them to continue to live their life and enjoy the days they’ve been given.
People who are suffering from Alzheimer’s benefit greatly from a stable environment. This reduces problems with behavior. When a person with Alzheimers is introduced to noises, new situations, large groups of people or are rushed to remember or do a seemingly simple task it can cause anxiety. This anxiety leads to the person becoming upset and decreases their ability to think clearly.
Coping with Alzheimer’s when you are the caregiver can lead to social isolation, anger, guilt, frustration, discouragement, worry and grief. But there are several things that you, as the caregiver, can do to help prevent and treat these issues.
Ask your friends and family for help when you need it. Dont believe that you are in this alone. You have family, friends and people who love you also. They dont know what to do to help- you have to tell them.
Take care of your own health by eating a well balanced diet, sleeping enough each night (at least 7 hours), and relaxing when you can. Take dietary supplements to make up for the lousy diet you’ll have occasionally.
Learn as much about Alzheimer’s as you can so you’re prepared, at least in theory, for the upcoming challenges. As much as we can be intellectually ready well probably never be emotionally ready for the changes.
Use a support group to help you brainstorm solutions to your individual problem set. There are others who have gone before you use their knowledge.
Researchers have found that those caregivers who receive individual counseling and support have a decreased level of depression and keep their loved one home for a longer period of time.
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