Elderly woman with alzheimersFacing an Alzheimer's diagnosis can be devastating. It's hard to process the fact that your loved one has a disease that will slowly deteriorate his or her memory. You may be unsure how to respond or how to be there for the one who has received the diagnosis. While it's hard to process and overwhelming to understand, there are some things that may help things for you and everyone involved.

Educate Yourself on the Disease

Even a disease like Alzheimer's can seem a little less overwhelming when you are familiar with the disease. If you don't know anyone else who has had it, then you might be frightened at the unknown. Learn all you can about the progression of the disease, and try to get an estimate from the doctor on how long the person has before things start going downhill. Knowing what to expect before it happens can help you be prepared for what's ahead.

  • Don't be afraid to ask the doctor questions.
  • Do a little research of your own.
  • Purchase some books that educate you on the disease.

Find a Support Group

One of the great things about today's technology is that it should be easy to find support groups both online and locally. This will help you meet others who are going through the same situation. These people will be in different stages of the process and may be able to give you and your family personal advice to help get through it. The support of others can be comforting during the most challenging times.

Safety First

Now that your loved one has a disease that will slowly impair his mental function, it's time to start thinking about safety. If his spouse is still alive and healthy, then the spouse should be on high alert. If he lives alone, then consider having someone move in with him. Put some alarms on the doors and check in on him regularly. Consider getting a phone for him that has a tracking device on it.

Enjoy the Time You Have

Toward the final stages of the disease, your loved one may have times where she does not remember who you are. This can be incredibly hard to process and can be heartbreaking. Take advantage of the time you have. Spend time together doing the things the two of you love most. Try to be understanding in those moments when she has a hard time remembering what she was saying or when she can't remember what you did earlier in the day.

Stick With Routine

Routine can help a patient with any form of dementia. When the day is predictable, it may be easier for him to keep track of what he's supposed to do. This can also help ensure that medications get taken on time and that he is eating regularly. All of these things are important to keep his mental stability as high as possible for as long as you can.

Be a Good Listener

Your loved one is almost certainly experiencing fears of her own, but she may be afraid to talk to you about it. After all, talking about it makes it so much more real, and she may be trying to keep a strong front so that she doesn't worry you. The thing is, she needs someone to talk to as well. Let her know it's ok to be scared and that you will be there for her every step of the way. She may need constant reassurance as time goes on, so be sure to give it to her.

Dealing with an Alzheimer's diagnosis can be very challenging. It can be a devastating disease and one that only gets worse as time goes on. Use these steps to help prepare everyone involved in any way you can.

Category: Loss

Grief communication relationships family health

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