Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative cognitive function condition, that can affect anyone at any stage of their later years. The most important thing to know when dealing with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, whether that be for yourself or a family member or loved one, is that this is categorically and unequivocally in no way your fault.
Guilt is one of the most corrosive and destructive negative emotions a human being can feel, and you must keep telling yourself or your loved one that there is absolutely no reason to feel guilty in any way, shape, or form.
Here is a guide to dealing with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease yourself for a loved one.
The Initial Few Weeks After the Diagnosis
Alzheimer’s disease is in no way your fault, and subsequently, there is absolutely no reason or logical, practical sense in blaming yourself. However, with time, you will be able to work through the shock of the diagnosis and subsequently prepare yourself for the challenges that lie ahead in the coming months and years.
Additionally, it is equally as important to remember that the medical diagnosis does by no means define yourself as a person and, with or without the diagnosis, you are still the same person you have always been throughout your whole life.
Therefore, it is vitally important for your own mental health and wellbeing to pursue those roles that define your sense of self: spouse, parent, grandparent, entrepreneur, gardener, cyclist, musician, volunteer, and valued and treasured friend.
Caring for a Loved One Who is Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease
As you or your loved one’s disease progresses, they may begin to display unusual behavior or even show changes in their overall personality and attitudes to themselves and their loved ones.
These changes are nearly always caused by underlying frustrations, such as a lack of sleep, several uncomfortable side effects of new medications, mental overstimulation, or a particular physical or recreational activity that has overwhelmed them, which they most likely thoroughly enjoyed before their Alzheimer’s diagnosis. But, again, patience is key here, and remember what your loved one is experiencing is just as strange and new as it is for you.
Caregivers for loved ones suffering from a diagnosis of dementia are so often intensely involved in their duties of care, even pausing their own life development to ensure their loved one is properly looked after. Support groups provide a chance to meet new friends with common interests as well as helping to avoid the social isolation that often accompanies the life of a caregiver. If you are the primary caregiver for a loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, it is strongly advisable to join such a group yourself.
Moving Forward Despite the Alzheimer’s Diagnosis
Upon a diagnosis of a memory-based illness, it is natural and expected that you will feel a range of emotions not dissimilar to those your loved ones themselves will feel. Therefore, you need to be as patient as possible with your loved one as they come to terms with their situation and always be on hand to provide positivity, patience, and reassurance, especially in the first few weeks.
Additionally, there are several proven to be effective ways of easing the transition of your loved one’s acceptance and understanding of their diagnosis. For example, documenting their thoughts, feelings, and emotions in a journal, confiding in a close family member or friend, and encouraging frank and honest discussions between them and their regular medical doctor are good starting blocks in coming to terms with their illness.
As a caregiver for someone who has been diagnosed with dementia, it is your responsibility to educate yourself as much as possible about the disease and the different progressive stages of the illness. Spend as much time with your loved one as is feasible and be sure to take some time out for yourself to ensure you are mentally well and strong to be there for your loved one. Together, you and your loved one will support each other, and it is important to remain as positive as possible.
Memory Care Assisted Living Communities
Memory care assisted living communities are specialized facilities that cater to adults who are suffering from memory-based illnesses. Memory care residences within assisted living communities are ideal places for older adults who are suffering from dementia or a similar memory-related illness that require extra support and medical assistance in their day-to-day lives.
Trained medical professionals care for the residents around the clock and do everything in their power to meet their needs quickly, kindly, and effectively. Unlike standard assisted living facilities, memory care units within such communities do not contain their own kitchenette; rather, their meals are prepared and delivered to them personally.
Memory care units feature safe and secure outdoor areas that residents can use at their leisure and generally place a higher importance and necessity on security to protect the wellbeing of the residents. People suffering through the latter stages of dementia tend to wander and get lost without knowing where they are or where they came from, and many such communities ensure every resident has a subtle and simple tracking bracelet. Such bracelets alarm the staff onsite if an individual resident attempts to or accidentally succeeds in leaving the property’s boundaries.
Communal areas within memory care facilities in assisted living Los Gatos are carefully designed to project a calm, relaxing, and tranquil atmosphere. Plenty of natural light floods the rooms, and the emphasis is entirely on calming nerves and reducing stress and anxiety levels amongst the residents as much as possible.
Nutritionally trained chefs prepare the resident’s meals and use hints and tricks to entice residents to eat the meals they create, as another side-effect that develops in the later stages of dementia is a loss of appetite. Such chefs are flexible and expert in their food presentation, preparation, and endeavor to keep the older community members as interested in food as possible.