An Alzheimer's diagnosis is hard to swallow, for both patient and carer alike. As time goes on and the patient's condition worsens, their memory becomes less and less reliable; they'll start losing things and wandering around, and may even risk putting themselves in danger. Homecare is a great option for those with Alzheimer's, as it helps for care to come to a place that's familiar to them, rather than, for example, a care home. But in between homecare sessions, there are some things that you can do to make things easier for both yourself and the patient! An Alzheimer's diagnosis can be a frustrating time for both carer and patient, but here are some tips to help both of you on the journey.
There's no easy way of being told that you or a loved one has Alzheimer's, but like most painful things in life that you can't change, it's better to get all the "badness" out of the way and put it behind you, so that you can look forward to moving past it. When you find out, you need to accept it there and then; there's nothing you can do and it's not your fault - ask as many questions as possible and do your research - the earlier you prepare, the easier it will be.
Try not to lose your temper if the patient is going through a "phase" - no matter how bad it may be. Due to the volatile memory of an Alzheimer's patient, they'll go through "phases" where they'll think something has happened which hasn't, or upon which they'll be convinced that something that happened in their past is currently taking place in the present to the extent of becoming obsessed with it and repeating it time and time again. This is a frustrating time, especially when the phases involve you (which they often might).
Be simple, but not patronizing
Try to use simple questions and sentences to communicate. Get to the point and try and speak slowly and clearly. However, if you can avoid being patronising; the patient may have memory problems, but they're still adults, and may get upset if they think you're being condescending. Don't start doing this immediately after diagnosis, as the patient may take exception to your behaviour towards them changing due to their condition.
Exercise (both of you!)
Whether it's just going for a walk or a jog, or going for a trip to the swimming pool or the tennis court, exercise not only helps the symptoms of Alzheimer's, take advantage of the chance to get a bit of extra exercise in! Not only will both of you feel great, but there's room for creativity in how you keep fit, so it's an excellent bonding opportunity for the two of you!
Alzheimer's can be life-changing, but it doesn't have to be life-ending. The diagnosis may come as a shock, but it can serve to bring carer and patient closer. Be patient, and share lots of stories; take exercise together and go on day trips. Once the bad news is out of the way, concentrate on working towards a happier future together, and an extra hand in homecare can really make the journey a lot smoother! We hope this post has given you some helpful advice, and we hope that we can help you further by providing homecare to a loved one of yours suffering with Alzheimer's or other limiting disabilities
Article written by Arran Garside from Locala Homecare.