Nov 27, 2017 by Robert Myer
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. Senior care services can be a big help to families who are struggling to care for a loved one that has Alzheimer’s.
November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, so we’ve compiled this handy guide on all things related to Alzheimer’s disease. It contains the common warning signs of this condition, as well as tips on how to have a conversation with your senior loved one about this 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.
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.
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.
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. Sometimes it can be easier to bring up this topic when you mention that senior care services can help them continue to live independently. 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 loved one may struggle to accept an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. It’s important that you let them have their feelings and express them fully and don’t try to gloss over their feelings.
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: 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.
If your senior loved one in Shreveport, LA is struggling with Alzheimer’s disease and you want to know more about how in-home senior care services can help contact us or call (318) 319-2745 today to speak with one of our home care specialists. Our highly-trained caregivers have the compassion and experience to help seniors with Alzheimer’s and give their families peace of mind.