Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s may be one of the most difficult experience a family can experience. Often referred to as a family disease because of burden of watching a family member slowly get worse with time as there are no known cures for Alzheimer’s.

What is Alzheimer’s and what to look for

“Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.(What Is Alzheimer’s?)

Early Signs
Early signs may include Memory loss such as forgetting new information, important dates, names & trouble solving problems they were once able to.

Here’s a table to help distinguish the difference between Alzhemimer’s and normal aging from alz.org (10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s)

Signs of Alzheimer’s Typical age-related changes
Poor judgment and decision making Making a bad decision once in a while
Inability to manage a budget Missing a monthly payment
Losing track of the date or the season Forgetting which day it is and remembering later
Difficulty having a conversation Sometimes forgetting which word to use
Misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps to find them Losing things from time to time

 

Later Progression
As the illness progresses the ability to remember declines. Changes in behavior and mood are normal and may display verbal or physical aggression. Your loved one will need help getting things done even though they might instist that they don’t need help.
As Alzheimer’s progress to it’s later stages extensive care is required. Loved one at this stage may need to be spoon fed, diapered, cleaned, getting dressed and moving around. The ability for them to communicate has been severly diminished.

For the Caregivers 
The family Caregivers should put their physical and mental health first. You can care for someone if you are not well.  Proper Sleep, exercize & nutrition are important for physical health. It’s also important to make time for socializing and not to be isolated. Get a great support group around you. Try to find help from other family caregivers to relieve some of the burden. Hiring a caregiver or Nursing Homes maybe become a neccessary option as the illness progresses.

Here’s a great documentary that shows how alzheimer’s has really affected families. It provides some great insight of how to better deal with the patient, the effects it has on the family, and how to provide the best caregiving service to your loved ones.

References:
What is Alzheimer’s?. Retrieved from https://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_what_is_alzheimers.asp

10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Retrieved from https://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_10_signs_of_alzheimers.asp

Guestpost by: Caregivers With Hearts