Finding Ways to Connect During Visits with Family Members & Friends Who Suffer from Alzheimer's
Expert help from Oaks Senior Living Communities
Alzheimer is a form of dementia that generally causes a problem in memory, behavior and thinking. It is difficult to recognize the disease in its early stages and the behavioral changes are generally attributed to stress and aging. But in the course of time the problems become severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. It is one of the most common forms of dementia. More than 60-80% of dementia patients are diagnosed with Alzheimer.
Age is huge factor that worsens the disease. Most of the patients are above 65 but around 5% of the patients have early onset. All dementia patients suffer from memory loss but patients suffering from Alzheimer’s find it difficult to even respond to the happenings in their surroundings. Researchers have not been able to find any cure but there are various kinds of treatments for symptoms.
It is important that the person suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s continue his daily habits, hobbies or activities. Such activities keep the mind busy and help in controlling agitation and wandering. If the patient is not able to perform his activities properly then the activities should be modified according to the patient’s ability. It is important to choose proper activities that suit a patient. The complexity of the activity must depend on the patient’s abilities. In the early states of the dementia they may avoid any such activities that they previously enjoyed. But it is always better to keep the patient engaged in some or the other task. Keeping busy in some other the other task stimulates a sense of usefulness and also keeps the person active. You can always take some steps to ensure that the tasks the patients carry out are successful.
1. It is always better to improvise and create something easier to do from the things the person has always enjoyed. A poker player may not be able to play like he used to but he may play some simple card games and in time enjoy even holding the cards. Try to introduce some simple card games or other such related games that are easy and fun to play. This way the patients can have some fun along with keeping their mind busy.
2. Try to challenge the patient’s mental skills with the tasks. If you hand them a coloring book meant for kids they are bound to get bored and thus this could lead to agitation and anger. Instead give them some memory games and tasks that would make them think. This would keep them interested and help you greatly in controlling their emotions.
3. Senior living communities should note down common changes in behavior or memory at specific time intervals. This would help you in determining their rate of memory decay. They should also take down various scenarios when they get agitated or wander around. This would help them in studying their behavior and also enable you to understand them better. You should see shorter attention spans and their disability to recognize art or music.
4. Give them a break. Don’t be strict on them and let them do stuff the way they like to do. They cannot do anything perfectly as their brain does not recognize numerous things in their surroundings. You should focus on how the activity makes the person feel purposeful and involved.
5. Patience is the only they are going to learn something. Your impatience and anger could dishearten them and thus they could just stop working on any tasks or hobbies. Understand them and their requirements. Your body language could also mean a lot. Make them do the same things over and over again. It is always better to make their mental tasks and activities a routine.
Watching and caring your close people suffering from dementia could seem to be like a never-ending series of never-ending grief experiences as their memory and basic abilities erode. The people suffering from Alzheimer would gradually change into a completely different person and also reach vigorously on simple things. With advancing age, the disease would worsen and your responsibilities would also gradually become challenging. So it is better to understand them and their requirements in such critical times. Sometimes it would also feel like a thankless task but you should always remember that they are not disregarding your care intentionally. It is the effect of the disease that has changed them.