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Living with Alzheimer's Disease

Reviewed by: MySeniorCare Staff
Last Updated: 4/14/2010 10:05:57 AM

Whether you are a patient or a caregiver, living with Alzheimer's disease is a constant struggle, filled with daily obstacles that can seem overwhelming at times.

The goal is to take one day at a time and to monitor changes to the patient's condition as closely as possible. Working with physicians and other health care professionals, patients and caregivers can make living with Alzheimer's disease less painful.

Patients Living with Alzheimer's Disease

Particularly in the beginning stages of the disease, patients with Alzheimer's often feel as though they are losing control, and may become depressed. Caregivers can help their loved ones cope with these changes and adjustments by providing a sympathetic ear, and by helping to answer the Alzheimer's patient's questions.

Patients might not feel quite so overwhelmed if tasks are broken down into smaller ones. It might become difficult to do everyday activities such as washing clothes or tying shoes, and patients and caregivers must work together.

Patients should also learn to rely on their loved ones for guidance as their Alzheimer's disease progresses. Every case is different, so doctors might not be able to tell you what you will experience as time goes on. Caregivers can show compassion and patience as they help their loved ones navigate this difficult experience.

It is recommended to set up a schedule and sticking to it every day. Leaving notes for yourself as reminders and having a plan for visiting the doctor and other activities will make each day less stressful.

Caregivers Living with Alzheimer's Disease

Caregivers often do not realize the emotional and psychological stress of caring with someone who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. It is important to take time each day to evaluate your own health, and to rest and relax.

However, caregivers must be vigilant when caring for an Alzheimer's patient. Things that seem innocuous such as a pair of scissors or a book of matches might prove very dangerous for your loved one. Scouring the home for anything they might misuse is an important first step.

Again, routines are essential to caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease. If caregivers can establish daily habits, each day will go much more smoothly than the last. Obviously, you will have to reorganize for events such as doctor's visits and family gatherings, but daily activities such as meals, shopping and taking medications should occur on a schedule.

Adapting to Changes

Living with Alzheimer's disease means constant changes for both patients and caregivers. Despite your meticulously planned routine, it is necessary to remain flexible. The more caregivers notice about their patients on a daily basis, the more they will be able to assist in their loved one's medical care.

Keeping a journal is an excellent way to cope. You can then share observations with your patient's physician so that the best treatment options possible are implemented.

It is also a good idea for caregivers to keep things as simple as possible. A patient with Alzheimer's disease will begin to have trouble following complex instructions, for example, and will be more likely to forget something.

The simpler the routine and the daily activities, the better everyone will fare!

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