When a senior loved one starts showing symptoms of having Alzheimer’s disease, it can be a difficult decision on how, when, or even if you’re planning to tell friends and family. However, more often than not, it’s the best course of action to tell everyone so that they’re prepared. From more glaringly obvious symptoms like stark personality changes and forgetting names, to more subtle changes like having trouble writing or issues with money, the more people that know, the more support you can receive.
Alzheimer’s is a disease that still has a huge cloud of mystery surrounding it, but there are ways that you can help your friends and family understand what to expect when your loved one has received their diagnosis. This will also allow them to help you decide if this something you can handle on your own as a family, or if it’s something that you might need to seek memory care in Carlsbad for.
Tip #1: Ensure that they know what exactly it is that’s happening.
While there’s really no way to fully prepare someone for what to expect, because everyone’s experience is going to be slightly different, you can still direct everyone to some articles or information that may help them. Places like the Alzheimer’s Association give detailed information about Alzheimer’s and Dementia symptoms, causes, and treatment
It’s important to be as up front as possible with those who your loved one is close with. Alzheimer’s is a disease that has no cure and can very heavily affect your family dynamic and everyone in the family, including children and grandchildren, so it is only more harmful in the long run to try and shield everyone from the reality in front of them.
When everyone in the family is on equal footing about the diagnosis, the symptoms, and the potential personality shifts, it’s easier to make difficult decisions like if your loved one may need memory care in Carlsbad or may be better under the care of family and friends in the comfort of their own home. If you’re considering having your loved one receive memory care in Carlsbad, our Bayshire facility has amazing room and service plan options.
Tip #2: Take things one step at a time.
It is important to remember that an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is not the end to a loving and fulfilling relationship with your senior. The key is teaching everyone to remember what your senior can and cannot do and how much they can remember and understand. You might find that in order for your senior to remember you, you’ll have to kickstart their memory. Have friends or family make it a habit to introduce themselves when they speak to them or go to visit. Saying something as simple as “hello, I’m Steve; we used to be neighbors” can go a long way in avoiding a lot of confusion and hurt feelings.
Something that may be a little more difficult is remembering that your senior loved one may not remember. Not only is a senior’s memory affected by Alzheimer’s, but their cognitive function in general is impaired. If your senior makes a mistake or misremembers something, teach his or her visitors to not correct them. Instead, swerve the conversation into a new topic. Or, if they seem to be having a bit of an off day, make sure that you always keep a bank of activities to complete with them instead. Looking through photo albums or making video calls to old friends or other family members can be a great way to keep your loved one’s spirits up.
One of the most difficult parts for family and friends to remember is that, while this is your loved one, an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can sometimes make them speak or act like a completely different person. It’s not something that they’re intentionally doing, but Alzheimer’s and dementia (which often go hand-in-hand) can starkly affect a person’s personality and empathy.
Tip #3: Be mindful of your tone and body language.
Remind visitors to speak with them gently. It’s so easy to get frustrated and upset when someone you’ve known for your whole life suddenly no longer remembers you. When you speak with them, be calm and quiet. Don’t raise your voice to them, but don’t speak to them like they’re a child. And most difficult, but also most important: remember to tell your loved ones not to take it personally when your senior doesn’t remember them, or gets angry, or acts out. It’s coming from a place of confusion, not from hatred or malice.
Tip #4: Be prepared.
Think of it like this: imagine that you’ve suddenly found yourself surrounded by a large group of people that you don’t recognize, in an environment that you’re unfamiliar with, and those people are raising their voices at you. You’d likely be confused and upset too, right?
This is why several caregivers carry information cards with them when they go out into public. This is more useful for strangers than it is for loved ones, but it’s still an important factor to discuss with everyone in the family should the need arise. These cards will often contain information or a short phrase on them detailing that their loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia, and that they may act in a way that is unexpected or alarming. It can make going out into public a bit of an undertaking, but making sure that everyone in the family is prepared can make it more manageable.
Memory Care Carlsbad
It’s for reasons like these that memory care services may be the best option for you and your family. Memory care service facilities have specially trained workers who know how to best handle situations like these. It helps prevent your family from being placed into these difficult situations that might otherwise be extremely emotional and upsetting. It may be hard to leave your senior in someone else’s care, but it may be for the best, for both your mental and emotional well-being as well as theirs. If this is something that you may be interested in here at our Carlsbad Bayshire facility, please reach out to us via our contact page.