Dealing with Alzheimers disease is one of the most difficult and over-whelming experiences that you can go through. It can be challenging and heart breaking all at one time not just for your parent, but you as well. This is especially true if you’re the main care giver of your parent.
Patients with Alzheimers will often become very angry, very sad or even mean tempered sometimes. This is usually because they feel so frustrated that things no longer make any sense to them. Its up to you to help ease the way for them as much as you can. You can keep them from being too overwhelmed by limiting their choices and keeping those choices as simple as possible. For instance, if you’re helping your parent get dressed, don’t offer a lot of clothing choices. Depending on the stage of Alzheimers, you may want to choose for them rather than making them a part of the selection process.
Another thing to remember in dealing with someone who has Alzheimers is to speak slowly to them. Use sentences that are very easy to understand and straightforward. This is because their ability to understand starts diminishing over the progression of the illness. But if you speak slowly, they have a better chance of understanding what you’re saying, which will help them avoid getting confused and frustrated.
It’s a long hard road, but you must be as patient as you can. Keep in mind that they’re not trying to make you insane. They just can’t help it. There will be adjustments that you may have to make in order to keep your parent in the loop. People with Alzheimers will often try to continue to perform tasks that they always did in the past, but they no longer know exactly how to do them. Also, since Alzheimers patients often tend to wander off, you must always keep an eye on them. Think of them as children. They can be right in front of you one second and gone in the next.
Do your best to keep your doors locked all the time, even when you’re at home. This will go a long way to keep them safe because it makes it harder for them to just wander away on their own. Lots of times they simply want to go home because, on some level, they do understand that they’re not living in the home they lived in for so long. There’s not a lot you can do to make them see that this is their home now so do your best to keep them under lock and key unless you’re taking them on a planned outing.
You may also want to let any close neighbors know that your parent has Alzheimers and that they will be living with you. It helps when there are others close by that are aware of the situation. In that way, if your parent does happen to get out without you knowing it, it’s very possible that your neighbors may notice and lead them back home to you.
Don’t let yourself get burned out. When you need a break, don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. There are usually services in the community that will offer parent sitting so that you and your family can enjoy a little down time.