Alzheimers is a progressive and irreversible disease that can slowly destroy not only long term memory, but can disturb basic cognitive function as well. Those who suffer from eventually lose the inability to carry out everyday tasks, and therefore are rendered completely dependent on the help of others.
Caregivers cannot stop the progression of Alzheimer’s related personality and behavioral changes, but we together can communicate more effectively to help those suffering live more fulfilling and comfortable lives.
Here are 4 tips on how to help someone with Alzheimer’s disease:
1) Keep things simple:
Try to ask or say only one thing at a time. Plan simple activities and ask them for help. For example “let’s go for a walk together” or “could you help me set the table” and “I need your help folding clothes”.
2) Encourage routine:
Setting a time for bathing, dressing and eating are great ways to start. Plan activities they enjoy and work these into the routine. Help the person keep track with to-do lists, appointments, events and activities in a notebook or calendar.
3) Keep it light:
Obviously arguing with someone who is struggling with Alzheimer’s is a losing battle. Instead if they are confused, anxious, agitated, uncnoltrollably pacing, or simply disoriented, try using music, singing, or dance to distract them. Focus on feelings. For instance instead of saying “why are you so worried” try “you seem worried”. This allows the person to look inward for solutions, rather than outward for stimulus. If you find yourself getting upset by the situation, step away and ask for help. Do not let yourself become so overwhelmed by the complexity that is this awful disease that you lose track of your own wellbeing.
4) Give people with Alzheimer’s space to move:
Allowing someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease enough space to walk safely can make a massive difference in their mental wellbeing. We don’t need to get into the specifics of how beneficial exercise is for the human body, but know that even with this disease it is important to keep them moving physically. Provide comfortable appropriate clothes for the weather if outside, as well as sturdy shoes. Remember to give snacks as to not lose too much weight and plenty of water to stay well hydrated.
Among the challenges are moments of joy
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) looks at the individual holistically. It has modalities that can help those suffering from Alzheimers. TCM is safe, natural, effective and side-effect free. Considering a TCM perspective and using acupuncture could dramatically help both those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease as well as those supporting caregivers.