The reality of Alzheimer and Tips for Carers
Alzheimer is a disease that affects the brain, it is the most common form of Dementia and this disease too can come in various forms like Parkinson’s and Lewi body. It is not part of aging contrary to what some believed, though it occurs most frequently late in life, it is a disease that causes problems with memory, thinking, behavior, personal and interpersonal relationship.
This disease begins generally after the age of 60years, but in rare cases the mental disorder may begin as early as 30years, the rate at which the disease progresses is mostly vast and aggressive and an average patient is expected to live 8-10years after the onset of the symptom though it varies with patients, many people who live alone may fail to identify the symptom early enough thereby leading to late diagnosis. Therefore any issue that has to deal with forgetfulness and getting lost in a familiar place should be reported to a doctor.
The primary risk factors for the disease is age and family history, it has been proven over the years that people who have parents or siblings living with Alzheimer’s are more likely to develop it than individuals who do not.
However, the emotional toll on patients and their families is enormous in which some relatives can distant themselves during this period, it is not that they are not concerned about the patients health or they do not care, the main reason why they avoid showing love and support to the patient is because they are too scared to face the reality of what might become of them in the nearest future, they have difficulty in comprehending the fact that they might also be in that situation someday. Dementia patient’s are sensitive to their environment and often do very well with family members around, this why they throw tantrums anytime they are being taking to a hospital or an unfamiliar environment.
TIPS ON HOW FAMILIES AND CAREGIVERS CAN SUPPORT PATIENTS
- Alzheimer’s affect people differently so ask them how they are doing, and how you can be of help. This can be done in an early stage where the patient can communicate effectively.
- Family members should employ familiar surroundings to enhance mood and maximize existence.
- The use of simple sentence structure and frequent reminders about the content of their conversation will enhance easy and smooth communication.
- Supervised walk is very effective in other to exercise the body, and it is also advisable to use door locks or electronic guards to prevent wandering.
- Family member or care giver can also register with safe return through Alzheimer’s association also name tag and medical alert bracelet will also be of great help .
- Understanding that they are still the same person and treating them as if nothing has changed will help both the patient and the care giver.
- People living with Alzheimer’s likes to be independent so give them the chance to do what they can do and skilfully guide them through the once they find difficult to do.
- Do not allow them to stay idle always keep them busy with different activities like games and exercise, in other to avoid wandering or going near hazardous substances.
- Do not pull away even if you don’t have an idea on how to help the patient, you can stay around for friendship and support.
Adjusting to Alzheimer Dementia is a gradual process and each person reacts to the diagnosis differently. so don’t stress yourself trying to fix your formal lifestyle into the new one that the illness has brought you will only end of getting confused.
Alzheimer is a thief and it robs its victim of ‘’THEMSELVES” as the diseases progress the patient begins to lose his/herself to the disease and eventually it will take over completely. This is the last stage where the care giver gets frustrated and overwhelmed, if you are reading this and you are in your early stage of the disease, it will do you do good to make the best of the time that you have now before you become oblivious and it will be sad because you might end in obscurity because people won’t feel your impact while you are still alive.
Get a diary and document each day, volunteer for humanitarian or community service, serve in your local church or support groups, you know what ‘Helping people while you are going through your own storm is the greatest blessing of all. Spending time with your loved ones and also being mentally and socially active may help delay the progression.
Above all keep fighting, don’t give up, believe you can win this battle, commit yourself to your treatments and health-enhancing behaviors.
Source: Alzheimer’s Association.