Talking to Your Family about Alzheimer’s Support
The confusion and frustration in dealing with Alzheimer’s does not stop with the patient or the primary caregiver. Every family member and friend of the patient will find that their world has changed as well, and providing Alzheimer’s support requires as much understanding as it does action. While it can be tempting to withdraw and limit your involvement as the disease progresses, your loved one needs you now more than ever. Primary caregivers, both familial and professional, can help prepare family and friends move past this temptation and provide the best care possible.
Dealing with Alzheimer’s & Sharing the Value of Familiarity
Even though Alzheimer’s greatly impacts a patient’s memory, causing painful confusion, its effects can be combatted by having familiar loved ones to provide a memory support network. Memory loss comes in waves, especially in the early stages of the disease, and providing reassurance during the peaks can make the valleys more bearable. Encourage family members to stay engaged in the patient’s life, share stories, encourage old hobbies and find new activities to share.
Talking about Alzheimer’s & Sharing the Value of Community
The support network that you are creating is for more than just the patient. By confronting symptoms of the disease with compassion and support, caregivers can help themselves as much as they help their patients. Encourage family members to discuss Alzheimer’s, including their own frustrations and concerns, so that neither patient nor caregiver ever has to feel that they are alone.
Understanding Alzheimer’s Stages & Sharing the Value of Education
Learning about Alzheimer’s stages can help a family prepare for unique challenges that each stage brings. The care that an early stage Alzheimer’s patient requires is significantly different from the care that a late stage Alzheimer’s patient requires. Without proper education, each of these levels of progression can become even more painful and frustrating for both the patient and their family.
Alzheimer’s and dementia create a new world of confusion and uncertainty into the lives of patients and those that care for them. There is little a patient can do about this and, without a support network, that confusion and uncertainty will only grow stronger. The only way to combat the pain of the disease is with the comfort and stability that staff, friends and family can provide. Take the time to talk to your family about what their loved one is going through; it only takes one person to set an example that will provide the patient and their support network with an improved sense of wellbeing.