Nov 27, 2017 by Robert Myer
It’s National Alzheimer’s Awareness month and that means it’s a good time to learn about Alzheimer’s and seniors. According to the most recent studies more than 5 million seniors in the US have Alzheimer’s. And experts say that number could climb as high as 16 million in the next two years.
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 assistance is a very important tool that helps seniors who have Alzheimer’s.
More than 15 million people are providing home health care for a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s. A home caregiver can help make it easier for families who are taking care of a loved one that is displaying the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Learn more about common warning signs of this conditions as well as tips on how to have a conversation with your senior loved one about this disease.
Frequent Misplacement of Items: Although people misplace items all the time, those with Alzheimer’s disease place items in inappropriate places. For example, a senior may place a salt shaker in the bathroom. If you notice this with your older loved one, they may have Alzheimer’s disease.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Avoid Downplaying the Disease: As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, you should be open about the implications of the condition. For example, if they can no longer drive or manage their finances, let them know this and provide them with a solution.
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.
If you are caring for a senior loved one with dementia in Alexandria, LA contact us or call (318) 239-9715 to speak to of our senior home health care specialists today to find out more about how a caregiver can make it easier to take care of your loved one.