Helping Seniors Live Healthier Lives

Understanding Alzheimer's: How To Help Your Loved One

When your close family member is diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, you may find yourself overwhelmed with stress and grief. After all, Alzheimer's is a serious disease that affects many people around the world, and is still very much a mystery to doctors and researchers alike. Once you better understand what is happening, you can better help your loved one through the challenges they are now facing. So, learn the key facts about Alzheimer's and get started assisting your family member right away. 

How Does Alzheimer's Differ From Other Dementia?

Alzheimer's is a specific disease that involves dementia, but differs from generalized dementia or other dementia disorders. The Alzheimer's brain suffers from the buildup of protein and plaque in the brain tissue that continues to spread and progress until it takes over completely. 

In other words, Alzheimer's is a process by which access to brain cells is cut off until the brain can no longer properly function. The spread of the plaque in the brain is what causes memory loss, disorientation, and behavior changes in your loved one and depends entirely upon the areas of the brain being affected. 

How Do You Help Your Loved One Cope With Memory Loss?

While you may want to try to help your loved one remember the events and memories they have lost as their Alzheimer's progresses, this may likely be impossible if the plaque in the brain has cut off access to those areas of the brain. You may be inclined to take it personally if your loved one does not immediately recognize you when you walk in the room, or if they forget your name or relationship to them.

However, your family member cannot control what is happening inside of their brain. Try to be understanding and get used to repeating yourself a great deal when you interact with your loved one. This will not be easy and can affect your emotions, but for the sake of your loved one, you need to try.

If you can't be around all the time to care for your loved one, they may benefit from being admitted to a memory care community like Alta Ridge Communities, where they will receive the support they need.

How Do You Help Them Remember?

Alzheimer's disease progresses over time and at present cannot be reversed. As your loved one copes with their condition, they may show flashes of lucidity and memory one moment, and completely lose them the next. 

While you may want to come up with techniques to help jog their memory when such instances occur, do not put all of your hopes on these methods. For example, one day, showing your loved one old photos of family and friends will trigger access to a specific memory. However, eventually they may look at those photos and see only complete strangers. 

You can try to help your loved one remember important events, people, and facts about their lives. But, you do not want to allow yourself to get frustrated or hurt if they do not always respond positively to your efforts. 

When your loved one suffers from Alzheimer's disease, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the stress and uncertainty of the situation. However, if you better understand how the disease operates and what to expect when interacting with your loved one, you will be able to help them cope while protecting yourself from undue stress and frustration.