Thursday, October 4, 2007

Facing Alzheimer's In Your Aging Parent

For many years I lived in fear of my
mother getting Alzheimer's Disease. Mom
and I both coped with all her health-related
issues rather well, I thought.

But I knew Alzheimer's would force a
choice I didn't want to make. My Mom
wouldn't be able to live with me anymore.
As sole caregiver with no siblings, it
wouldn't have been an option.

But we were lucky. Mom lived to be
95. Mind sharper than mine. And we
were together.

For the caregivers of aging parents who
are faced with Alzheimer's, my heart
goes out to you.

This is the most distressing disease for
the patient, family members and care
givers. Devastating.

So if your parent has been diagnosed
or you are beginning to suspect Alzheimer's
Disease, you'll want to be well-equipped to
handle what the future holds.

We must remember. The brain is damaged.
The patient cannot make sense or use logic
to what they see and hear. Scary, right?

The patient has no control over what they
are doing. They can't prevent themselves
from doing or saying things they would have
never done when their brains were healthy.

Some Tips For The Caregiver

1. Learn everything you can about the dementing
We can't begin to understand anything if
we just don't know about it. This understanding
of the dementing illness will help us cope.

2. Talk to the patient if the illness is mild to
moderate. You'll both be able to share your feelings,
memories and concerns for the future.

3. Solve problems one at a time. Choose one thing
that has you in turmoil and make little changes
until you see a difference. Everything can't be
conquered at once.

4. Rest. The caregiver must have respite care. They
have to take care of themselves. It's been reported
that chronic caregiver stress leads to a shortened
life span for the caregiver. Serious stuff!

5. Adapt. Always ask yourself, "Is it that big of a deal?"
If the patient wants to do something like sleep in their
clothes, is the frustration of trying to force them into
pj's really worth the stress?

6. Laugh. You must find ways to make what you can
funny. Talk to other caregivers and find the humor in
the situation. The patient needs laughter as well!

If you'd like to learn more about this painful disease,

Be strong,