Nov 22, 2017 by Gregg Gammello
November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, so elder services are on a mission to provide seniors and their families with a deeper insight into this cognitive condition. In this mini-guide on Alzheimer’s disease, you can learn how to recognize the early symptoms of the disease, as well as gain valuable tips on how to start the conversation about it with your senior loved one.
Diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease in its early stages may help slow down its progression. That is why it is important to consult with your loved one’s medical team as soon as the first signs start appearing.
As elder services point out, the most widespread and prominent symptom of the condition is memory loss. In addition to forgetting names, faces, and places, seniors with Alzheimer’s may find it impossible to remember the purpose of common household objects as well.
Older adults with the condition may also frequently misplace things, that is, place objects in places where they are typically not found. For instance, a senior with Alzheimer’s may put their home keys into the fridge.
Other common signs of Alzheimer’s disease, according to elder services, include depression, unusual sleeping patterns, and poor judgment, as well as behavioral changes such as getting agitated for no reason or neglecting personal care and hygiene.
When you learn about your loved one’s diagnosis, it is normal to feel sad or even angry. However, it is important to talk about the condition with your parent in order to reach a mutual decision about their future care.
Bringing up the subject is difficult in itself. That is why elder services recommend that you research the condition in order to gain a thorough understanding of how it affects people and what changes your loved one can expect.
After you know the answers to the most common questions about Alzheimer’s disease, you should schedule a family meeting, where all family members should be encouraged to share their emotions. Choose a time and place that works for everyone, making sure that your loved one feels safe and comfortable.
During the conversation, you should also encourage your parent to share how they feel and reassure them that they are not alone and that you will be there for them every step of the way. At the same time, elder services suggest that you be completely honest and straightforward about the condition, without trying to downplay the effects it has on people.
By being both realistic and compassionate, you can be sure that you are doing what’s best for your loved one, offering them solutions to the problems they will likely encounter and working hard to improve their quality of life on a daily basis.