Alzheimer’s disease can be very distressing for both the patient and their loved ones. Losing cognitive functions and even forgetting those who are closest to them can be frightening for the individual and frustrating. While patients with Alzheimer’s won’t always have a rapid decline, it is important to understand how to care for them if they are still living independently, with you at your home, and even when they need intensive memory care at a day center or residential home. Below are a few tips to help families who have a relative with Alzheimer’s for both their care and coping with the impact this has on you as well.
While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, there are medications available to help with the condition. There are also some holistic methods you can try, including brain game exercises to help reduce cognitive decline. It might not stop the disease, but it can help slow its progression in some cases, giving patients a longer period of being in better cognitive health.
Exercise and Generally Healthy Lifestyle
Just like exercising the brain can be beneficial, other physical exercises that improve cardio health and strength can also be good for Alzheimer’s patients. It can help boost overall health, with cardio exercises being good for the brain and strengthening exercises making their mobility better. The latter is worth noting as those with Alzheimer’s and dementia can be more susceptible to falls, so improving their balance and physical strength can help with this. Eating ‘brain foods’ such as fatty fish, leafy greens, berries, and nuts, are all things you should try to incorporate more into their diet.
This won’t always be easy, but patients with Alzheimer’s can often have mood swings, lose concentration, and even forget who you are to them. All of these scenarios can be distressing for you, but they are equally as upsetting for your loved one who is going through it. Try to be patient with them, even if you feel that they are being difficult at times. To make things easier for you both, try to stick to a routine, keep things simple, and try to reassure them as best you can. Avoid arguments or trying to reason with them if you feel they aren’t making sense, as this can confuse them and frustrate them further. Try to pick up on their body language too, as they might not be able to verbalize properly how they feel or what they are trying to express.
Dealing with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s is difficult, and it’s OK to feel overwhelmed at times and upset with how this could be impacting your life. It can be heartbreaking to see someone you love go through this, and this is why you should consider reaching out to get some support for yourself. There are groups and online forums you can join to speak to other people in your position to help you share your feelings in a safe space. If you would prefer, you can also look into private counseling if you would feel more comfortable speaking to a trained therapist rather than a group of people.
Alzheimer’s isn’t easy for anybody, which is why it’s important to learn how to look after yourself during this time as well as your loved one who is suffering from this condition.