Nov 27, 2017 by Robert Myer
November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. This disease affects millions of seniors each year. Alzheimer’s is a serious disease but knowing that symptoms of the disease and what to look for can mean getting a faster diagnosis and better treatment for your senior loved one . Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and can slowly destroy a senior’s memory and critical thinking skills.
In the later stages of this disease, older adults may be unable to carry out simple tasks like bathing, toileting, and preparing meals. Home health care can help seniors who have Alzheimer’s live independently at home by providing caregiving services.
Memory Loss: The most common and noticeable warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease is memory loss. If your older loved one has trouble recalling names, faces, places, and even the purpose of everyday objects such as a hairbrush or a pair of scissors, there may be something very wrong.
Frequent Misplacement of Items: Everyone forgets where they put things sometimes. But Alzheimer’s is different from putting away clothes in the wrong drawer or putting a book on a wrong shelf. People with Alzheimer’s will often put items in totally inappropriate places. If you find a sock in the freezer or a shoe in the oven that could be a warning sign.
Depression: Several of the most common symptoms of depression include social withdrawal, a lost interest in hobbies, and strange sleeping patterns. If your senior loved one used to be very social and no longer accepts invitations to spend time with friends and family, they may be depressed and displaying a sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
Poor Judgment: Since dementia has a major effect on reasoning, older adults with Alzheimer’s may demonstrate poor judgment. They may completely neglect personal hygiene, say things that make no sense, or make irrational financial decisions. Having a home health care worker in the home with a loved one that has Alzheimer’s can help them stay safe on their own.
Bringing up the topic of Alzheimer’s disease to your older loved one can be very difficult. Regardless of whether you need to tell them that they need to move, stop driving, or opt for home care services, you are likely worried about how they will react.
Here are some great tips to ensure the conversation goes as smoothly as possible:
Schedule a Family Meeting: It’s a good idea to schedule a family meeting with you, your loved one, and other family members and close friends. This way, there is a time and a place for the conversation and your senior is surrounded by people they love and trust.
Make Every Effort to Reassure Your Senior: Reassuring an older adult is important when speaking to them about Alzheimer’s disease. You should let them know that you will be there for them to provide support and do whatever is necessary to improve their quality of life.
Allow Your Older Adult to Express Their Feelings: Your senior will likely express feelings of frustration, anger, and disappointment during this conversation. When they do so, be sure to respond with reassurance and love.
Write Up Answers to Potential Questions: You should anticipate the types of questions your older loved one may ask prior to having the conversation. Once you do, write up simple, easy-to-understand answers to these questions so you’ll know how to respond when they are asked.
Avoid Downplaying the Disease: Alzheimer’s is progressive, and currently there is no cure. There are treatments that can help slow down the progression of the disease but ultimately your senior will need home health care services and will need to stop doing things like driving. Making light of the disease isn’t going to be helpful. The more time your senior has to get used to the idea of giving up certain things the easier it will before them to accept it when the time comes.
If you have a senior loved on in Metairie, LA who has Alzheimer’s and you want to know more about how home health care services can help him or her contact us or call (504) 300-0115 today. One of our care specialists will be happy to answer your questions.