Life is a beautiful thing. It is something to be fully lived and celebrated. And when the end of that beautiful life of a loved one nears, it is one of the most difficult things anyone ever has to go through. Particularly if that loved one begins to slip away from who they have come to be, well before the end of their life actually arrives. Alzheimer’s is one of the awful culprits of this type of goodbye, and as we continue to struggle to understand the process that an Alzheimer’s patient endures, we continue to struggle to understand how to make things easier, both for the loved one in suffering, and those who bear witness to the process.
Understanding dementia and Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease is a disease that affects the mind, memories, and a person’s ability to function normally. It is common among dementia patients and is the sixth leading cause of death within the United States. Unfortunately, it is also the only cause of death listed in the top 10 causes of death in the United States that we have not figured out how to prevent, slow or cure. The deterioration of the mind makes it increasingly difficult for a person to function in everyday society, and often patients will need to be relocated to an alzheimer?s care
facility, where they will have access to general geriatric care as well as specialized treatment and care for the condition. The difficulty that family members and other loved ones face is watching helplessly as the person they know so well ceases to recognize them, and becomes almost a shadow of who he or she once was.
Alzheimer?s care services for patients
Many times, especially as the disease progresses, patients will need constant care and supervision. There is the option of relocating your loved one to a senior home care facility that specifically provides alzheimer?s care
or you could seek out facilities that are geared specifically toward the disease, and only staffed with Alzheimer?s caregivers. There is also the option of finding local in home care services, as many people try to provide the stability of a once familiar environment for the Alzheimer’s patient, who is struggling daily with beloved things transforming into foreign things.
Tips, care and opportunities for family members and loved ones
To be sure, it is incredibly difficult to watch someone you love suffer with Alzheimer’s. Many people find it frustrating because it is hard to comprehend how someone so competent and intelligent seems so confused at the simplest things. The main thing to remember is that your loved one is most likely more confused and frustrated than you can even fathom, and it is your job to do everything in your power to make them comfortable and content. Start by simplifying options for them. Lay out one outfit for them to change into, instead of giving them a whole closet to choose from. Serve a meal just one dish at a time, even if it makes sense to you to have the meat and potatoes together.
The other important thing to think about when you are helping to care for an Alzheimer’s patient is to take care of you. It is easy to get overwhelmed with the heavy feeling of loss for your loved one, while they are still with you. In order to be able to provide the best quality of care, love, and support for your loved one, you need to be able to grieve in the way that best works for you. They are the one suffering through the disease, but you are the one suffering as you watch them stop recognizing you and everything that they love. There can be an immense sense of helplessness in those who are trying endlessly to help the one they love. Make sure you address those feelings so that you can best understand how to move forward.