How to Manage the Changes That Come with Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia, a chronic neurodegenerative disease that currently has no available cure and is much more likely to affect people ages 65 and up. Needless to say, this makes addressing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s a top priority for those working in the medical and care-giving field. The first step, as always, lies in identifying the changes that usually occur in people living with Alzheimer’s, changes including but not limited to:
1. Sudden Shifts in Mood
People who are living with Alzheimer’s may find processing what is happening to and around them challenging. Alzheimer’s can change a person’s orientation and perception as well as ability to respond rationally. Although there are no hard and fast rules here, patients tend to become upset, worried or confused more easily, and they might also experience periods of depression and anxiety. For some people, paranoia occurs as well, making it difficult to put faith in those who might have their best interests at heart.
2. Behavioral and Visual Symptoms
Along with mood and emotional shifts, behavioral changes also tend to occur. Imagining things that aren’t there, as well as difficulty with depth and visual perception, narrowing visual field and changes in mapping skills are all par for the course in a mind seeking to make sense of the world. Some people may even have a tendency towards aggressive reactions, so it’s important to keep in tune with environmental and circumstantial situations that may be misrepresented and cause defensive responses.
3. Malfunction of Body Systems
Since Alzheimer’s effects the whole brain, which even includes the control of sensation and movement, in some people it can also result in noticeable physical symptoms such as constipation, infections and disruption of the sleep-wake cycle.
Because the brain is progressively failing in all aspects of function, Alzheimer’s can really take a toll on patients and caregivers alike. But there are certain ways to limit the disease’s influence and maintain a healthy outlook on life. To that end, here are a few things you can do to ensure that someone suffering from Alzheimer’s feels loved and cared for:
- Instate a Daily Routine – People with Alzheimer’s usually have short-term memory problems, so it can be quite helpful if they follow strict routines on a day-to-day basis. Be sure to follow the person’s lead when it comes to what is meaningful and relevant.
- Reassure Them Periodically – Safety is a big concern for Alzheimer’s patients, so take the time to reassure them and tell them that they are in good hands and that nothing bad will happen while they are under your watch.
- Spend Time with Them in Nature – Being outside brings a host of benefits to older adults in general, but Alzheimer’s patients in particular tend to really enjoy the great outdoors. Be sure to grant them plenty of space so they can walk to their heart’s desire.
- Enjoy Music Together – Music and dancing have been shown to have a positive effect on dementia sufferers, so try to make use of the patient’s favorite records in order to distract their attention from the disease.
As long as Alzheimer’s remains an incurable illness, there will be people who live with it. But many still get to enjoy a purposeful life and meaningful experiences with thoughtful support. For more info, be sure to check the website of Home Care Assistance’s Cincinnati and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.