Don’t hide in the shadows
Having Alzheimer’s disease unfortunately carries with it a certain stigma. People tend to keep the diagnosis to themselves for fear of embarrassment or pity or simply because most people don’t really understand the disease. However, sharing the diagnosis with those you love and trust will not only increase awareness of this widespread disease but can also motivate offers of help and support.
Don’t take it personally
A man, who was ordinarily one of the sweetest people imaginable, became distrustful of his wife of 70 years. A typically calm woman became belligerent when her caregiver would not take her home, although she was already there. While it’s hard to ignore someone lashing out at you, just remember that these harsh words are the disease talking, not your loved one!
Names aren’t all that important anyway
Your loved one will begin forgetting names; that’s a guarantee. Help them by saying, “Hi Mom, I’m Joe, your son.” Your name might not stick for very long, but at least now they can place your face, which will be a relief for them.
It’s OK to lose your cool
Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or other dementias is probably the hardest work you’ll ever have to do, physically and especially emotionally. If you’re not the most patient or snap in a moment of frustration, give yourself a break. After all, you’re only human!
Get help. Lots of it!
When people offer to help, take them up on it. Let them sit with your loved one while you enjoy a meal with friends or just a stroll around the neighborhood. Also avail yourself of all the resources at your disposal at your local Alzheimer’s Association or other senior organizations in your area. If you need a longer break, seek professional respite care.
Enjoy the time together
Most importantly, don’t let the unpredictability of the future ruin the time you have today. Relish each and every precious moment!