Altzheimer’s Disease: Understanding And Coping With A Devastating Condition
Alzheimer’s is an extremely serious medical condition characterized by a progressive mental deterioration caused by a generalized degeneration of the brain. The disease isn’t lethal, but it gradually destroys a person’s cognitive abilities, thus rendering them unable to recognize people and places around them or to execute simple daily chores and activities. Among the associated symptoms there are memory loss, dementia and an inability to respond to the environment. All thee make it very hard for caregivers to cope with the situation. This article has the purpose of giving you a few ideas and tips for making the situation a bit easier for those who have a beloved one suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Try To Gain a Better Understanding of Alzheimer’s Disease and of Its Evolution
Once the shock of this terrible news has faded a little, you should start gathering as much information on the disease as you can. Search the internet, go to a local library, read all literature you can find. Another good starting point is to find and join a local support group. Alzheimer’s disease has seven distinct stages of severity, but the first three usually pass undiagnosed. You have some time to learn about the condition, so when your loved one will enter the last stages, you’ll already know more or less what to expect.
Get Medical Treatment as Soon as Possible
Once your beloved one has been diagnosed, don’t wait any longer. Try to get as much medical help as you can. There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s yet, but there are treatments that can slow down the onset of the disease. The sufferer will be able to maintain the cognitive function for a longer period of time before advancing to those really severe stages where the biggest problems appear. Among these treatments, we can mention various medication choices such as Exelon, Aricept and Razadyne, also known as cholinesterase inhibitors. There’s also a glutamate reducer, Namenda, which seems to be effective in early stages of the disease.
Hope for the Best but Prepare for the Worst
Since the condition is degenerative, you know from the very beginning that there will be no possible return, therefore you should start preparing yourself for the future. You’ll have to overcome financial and emotional challenges that will shatter you, so you have to prepare yourself as well as you can for those moments. Eventually, the patient won’t be able to walk unassisted, so you’ll need a wheelchair. Later on, you’ll also need to assist him with all details related to personal hygiene, cleaning or performing otherwise normal bodily functions. That will be a hard time and you may need to hire a specialized assistant or a nurse to help you.
Secure Your Living Space
Restrict access to all dangerous zones in the house and to toxic substances or medications. Alzheimer’s sufferers can easily harm themselves by swallowing poisons, so they shouldn’t have access to anything harmful. The bathroom needs to have grab-bars for the time when the patient won’t be able to step in and out of the bathroom safely. Sometimes, Alzheimer’s sufferers leave their home ans wander the streets. They might not remember where they live or what their name is, so you should prevent them from leaving the house unattended by keeping the doors locked.
Anticipate Neurocognitive and Personality Changes
Alzheimer’s sufferers often experience hallucinations in which they may see you as an enemy. They may ask you to leave their house, since you are a stranger. It is very tough and a real challenge for the caregiver to go through such a painful situation. You need to keep in mind all the time that it’s the disease speaking and not your beloved one. Treat the patient with the same love you always had for him.
Assuming the role of caregiver to a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s disease is stressful and can be overwhelming, but you do not have to shoulder the responsibilities alone. Help is available through Boca Home Care Services for Boynton Beach. BHCS can provide screened, trained, certified, experienced and compassionate home care aides and certified nursing assistants, to provide relief for you and comfort to your afflicted loved one. Our aides are available full or part time. Contact Boca Home Care Services for Boynton Beach at 561-989-0611 to set up a free in-home consultation. Let us help.