World Alzheimer’s Day 2020 | Caring For a Loved one with Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s Day is observed every year on September 21 all over the world. Alzheimer’s is a cumulative disease that causes memory and cognitive impairment. The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s is a serious illness that can interfere in a person’s daily life.
This campaign to spread awareness on Alzheimer’s began in 2012 still the stigma and lack of knowledge regarding dementia and its diseases remain globally unchecked. Normally patients of Alzheimer’s are over the age of 65 hence the disease carries a misconception of being a part of aging.
This year’s theme of World Alzheimer’s Day is
‘Let’s talk about Dementia’.
Dementia in layman terms means the loss of cognitive functions – thinking, memory, and reasoning. People with dementia have trouble controlling their emotions and feelings. Dementia damages the neurons and affects the brain cells.
There is a lot of misinformation surrounding dementia and related diseases. It takes at least two decades for Alzheimer’s to develop symptoms. Many people around the globe are living with the disease unaware of its gradual growth. Some of the common factors of dementia can be caused by:
- Stress, anxiety, and depression
- Vitamin and mineral deficiency
- Substance abuse
- Poor health choices
- Concussion or a brain injury
- Family history
Alzheimer’s causes people to forget the simplest of things and makes them depend on their caretakers. Dementia and especially Alzheimer’s can create feelings of loneliness and undeserving of a person’s psyche.
Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind
Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be frustrating and taxing. Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you guide while caring for a loved one:
- Use clear and meticulous sentences while communicating with a patient with Alzheimer’s
- Be kind and practice patience.
- Be sensitive and provide a comfortable and safe environment
- Help your loved one feel confident and independent in their daily activities
- Understand the person’s emotions and feelings rather than their words and actions
- Don’t talk in lengthy sentences and avoid talking too much
- Never wear your frustration on your face
- Do not to argue, disagree or correct a person with Alzheimer’s
- Do not communicate with the patient as if they are a child and can’t understand what you’re saying
- Do not surprise the person and assume that all dementia patients are the same
- Do not talk over the person and avoid retreating from them mentally and physically
Spending time with a patient of Alzheimer’s can mean a lot to them. Be attentive and listen to their stories. Create a safe and healthy environment for them so that they feel comfortable enough to breathe and talk without feeling isolated and lonely.
Dementia is bad enough as it is and gradually it starts to take a toll on the affecter’s mental and physical health. Engaging with them in activities that keep them busy and focused can be really effective in helping them feel better and valued.
Those affected by any form of dementia, whether it be Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, or Lewy body dementia, are prone to withdraw from their daily activities. Involving their input on day-to-day life can create a positive frame of mind which allows them to feel worthy and appreciative.
Taking care of or living with a person with any sort of dementia can be difficult and challenging. Anger and exasperation become common feelings while taking care of a patient with dementia but expressing those feeling and emotions can create a swirl of negativity and despair in the patient. Patience should be the operative emotion while helping with a person with Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia.
“More smiling, less worrying. More compassion, less judgment. More blessed, less stressed. More love, less hate.”
― Roy T. Bennett
With love, patience, and courage anything is possible.
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