Is your loved one living with Alzheimer’s?
In recognition of World Alzheimer’s Month, we’re looking at the impact Alzheimer’s disease has on both the individual and their family and sharing some helpful ways in which you can offer Alzheimer’s support to your loved one.
Alzheimer’s Support: Understanding the Condition
The first step to offering Alzheimer’s support to your loved one is understanding the disease as best you can.
Becoming aware of the stages, possible symptoms and effects they may have on your loved one can help you to better understand their behaviours and actions. This can then help you to find solutions, treatments and support that work best for them.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that is typically associated with elderly people and is the most common cause of dementia.
Most commonly, the first sign of Alzheimer’s is mild memory loss. As the individual’s memory continues to decline, they may experience confusion and exhibit behaviours that you may not recognise.
People living with Alzheimer’s disease may eventually find it difficult to understand and partake in conversational speech as they usually would. As a result, they may be easily frightened or become overwhelmed, leading to uncharacteristic behaviour.
Knowing that these behaviours are typical of the condition, and are not a true reflection of your loved one, can help you separate your personal feelings from the situation and enable you to support them in the moment.
Simplify Their Life as Much as Possible
Alzheimer’s can leave your loved one feeling confused, particularly as their memory deteriorates. One way in which you can offer Alzheimer’s support is to use memory aids around the home, such as posters to turn off taps or instructions for preparing their meals.
This can help to lessen the impact of their memory loss, keep them safe, and encourage them to retain as much independence as possible throughout the progression of their condition.
You could also help your loved one to establish a daily routine to help them feel reassured and settled. They can still make personal decisions, such as which outfit to wear that day, but you can prevent feelings of overwhelm by laying out two options for them, rather than presenting a whole wardrobe.
Alzheimer’s Support: Visit Dementia Cafes or Daycare Centres
If you’re caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, it can be beneficial for you both to head out and socialise with others.
Encouraging your loved one to visit dementia cafes or daycare centres can relieve the pressure on you both.
Your loved one can participate in meaningful activities and socialise with like-minded people. You, in the meantime, can meet other carers and family members who’re on the same journey as you.
You could also check whether you’re eligible to register as a carer, as this can offer you support and advice as you embrace your role. You may also be eligible for financial aid, which can help to ease the pressures and stresses associated with Alzheimer’s support.
Learn How to Effectively Communicate With Someone Who is Living With Alzheimer’s
When someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the pathways to their brain become blocked, and so they’re continuously having to find new ways to communicate.
It can be difficult to understand what they mean when they’re not using conventional words or actions, and this can become increasingly frustrating for both individuals.
Non-verbal communication is also really important. You can show you care by gently touching their hand when you speak, making eye contact and smiling. These can reassure your loved one and let them know they’re safe in your presence.
Try to remain calm and be understanding, using a gentle tone of voice and engaging with them fully. Treating your loved one with dignity and respect can go a long way in supporting them, as they’ll be more receptive to communicating with you.
If you’d like to speak to a member of our team, please contact us here.
Alternatively, if you’re struggling with the effects of caring for a loved one, why not read our blog on how to improve your mood?