Tips for People Affected By Alzheimer's Disease

According to the Stanford Center for Medical Disorders, more than 950 people are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in the United States every day. Not only do these people have to deal with the debilitating symptoms of the disease; their family members will undergo great physical, psychological, emotional, and financial distress as well. Those who are suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease may not be able to perform simple daily activities, and they need a lot of assistance. Their family members can help out by either taking care of them or hiring a caregiver. Medical expenses and the cost of hiring a caregiver can be very high, and they can result in serious financial problems. Worst of all, people who are in the later stages of Alzheimer’s Disease will have trouble recognizing their loved ones, and this can cause great emotional distress for their family members.

Emotional Effects

Many family members of Alzheimer’s Disease patients find it extremely difficult to cope with the emotional effects that result from the disease. Nonetheless, there are a number of things that they can do to overcome the stress that comes with caring for their Alzheimer’s afflicted loved ones. First of all, they have to know how to reveal news of the affliction to the entire family in the right way. They should provide honest information about the disease to family members who are unaware of the effects of the disease, such as children and teenagers. After revealing the news, they should offer comfort and support, and encourage them to ask questions. All questions about the disease should be answered honestly.

To cope with the changes that take place during different stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, family members have to learn to recognize the symptoms that come with every stage. At the initial stage, patients of the disease will show no signs of memory loss, but they will gradually forget things as the disease progresses, starting from familiar words to locations of possessions, names, recent events, addresses and telephone numbers, basic arithmetic skills, and finally, their spouses and family members. It can be heartbreaking for family members to be forgotten by their Alzheimer’s Disease-afflicted loved ones, but they will be better prepared for it if they accept the fact that this unfortunate circumstance will eventually occur.

Physical Effects

It can be very time-consuming and physically challenging to care for people with Alzheimer’s Disease, and family members need to have a lot of patience. When they are communicating with their afflicted loved ones, they should be extra attentive, maintain eye contact, try to gain attention, speak simply and naturally, adapt to their loved ones’ way of communicating, and reduce background noise. Showering Alzheimer’s patients and helping them go to the bathroom can be difficult, because they may be embarrassed to undress or have someone deal with their incontinence. Family caregivers should help their afflicted loved ones go through these activities in a natural and reassuring way. They should remove soiled garments quietly and efficiently, minimizing attention to the situation. During shower time, they should not leave the bathroom, and they can either shower their loved ones or let them shower themselves with a handheld shower.

Financial Effects

Family members who have trouble keeping up with the financial obligations that come with their loved ones’ Alzheimer’s Disease should contact an insurance company to find out about the medical expenses and nursing bills that will be incurred. Since their loved ones may be incapable of making sound decisions, they should establish power of attorney for handling financial means. This will ensure that the financial situation of the family will be in order.

Many families are unable to take care of their Alzheimer’s loved ones because of their work or school commitments. If this is the case, they can send their loved ones to assisted living facilities or nursing homes. All families with Alzheimer’s afflicted loved ones should visit an Alzheimer’s Disease organization in their locality to seek more information and support.