As your loved one ages, it is inevitable that he or she will experience a decline in physical and mental health. It may be particularly painful and shocking to family members when an elderly loved one starts to lose their memory due to Alzheimer’s disease.
While women over 65 are more likely to suffer from this disease, younger individuals both male and female are still susceptible to early onset of the disease. If your loved one suffers from this disease, it can be tremendously helpful to be mental prepared to support your loved one through an emotional trying period in their (and your) lives.
First, the very best thing you can do for someone with Alzheimer’s is to continue to treat them with respect. As someone with Alzheimer’s begins to lose their mental faculties, it is vital to show them that they are still valued and loved by their family and friends.
Second, those suffering from Alzheimer’s tend to feel vulnerable and any support you provide will help ease them through their illness. Think of things to help them feel at ease such as keeping a regular routine and try to them feel less disoriented.
Some things family members can do to help a loved one with Alzheimer’s feel self-confident and respected include:
1. Trying your best to be patient and tolerant towards them. Maintaining a respectful tone and not talking down to them while speaking.
2. Spending quality time with them and actively conversing with them.
3. Respecting their privacy.
4. Offering support when they want to express their feelings.
5. Try to avoid creating situations where they are likely to fail.
6. Perform actions with the person, instead of for them. Although this can take longer with the person, realize that this person needs your patience as well as your help.
7. Phrasing your questions simply, to allow for yes or no answers.
8. Establishing a routine to help provide comfort and to keep them at ease.
There will be fantastic days and dreadful days, but above all, realize that this person is not well and that they need your help. Practicing kindness and especially patience can go a long way.