Love and Understanding

Has someone you love recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease? You may find yourself wondering how you can help, or if you can help.

You can start by learning how to show love and understanding to a person with Alzheimer's disease.

The first step to loving someone with Alzheimer's disease is learning as much as you can about the disease. Knowledge will allow you to understand your loved one better as their behavior changes. Learning how the disease will affect your loved one can allow both of you to prepare for its progression. You can begin taking steps to slow the progression by preparing nutritious meals and planning physical activities.

You can also help show your loved one you care by helping them with daily activities such as tracking medications and dosages. Helping your loved one develop predictable routines will help them with remembering their medications and prevent confusion and frustration.

It's important to understand that your loved one may change drastically, and you should take the time to get to know the current version of them. Avoid getting frustrated when they can’t recall memories from the past.

Create new memories by planning fun activities with your loved one such as trips to the local zoo or museum. You may be able to help your loved one remember familiar emotions, even if they don’t remember the previous reasons behind every feeling.

You can also show your loved one you care through art, music, reading or even just a touch on the arm.

As a caretaker, you must take care of yourself as well. Don’t be too hard on yourself, giving your loved one independence as often as possible is actually good for them too. Being honest with yourself about your emotional and physical limitations can help you set realistic goals to avoid burnout. If you begin to feel overwhelmed turn to family and friends who can help you deal with your emotions.

Be sure to maintain important documents such as wills and medication lists. This will make things easier in the case of an emergency.

Remember people can live with Alzheimer's disease for over 20 years, so take this time to enjoy your loved one. Show your support for your loved one by participating in Alzheimer's Awareness Month.