Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia among the elderly population. Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease that progresses in stages, beginning with memory loss and potentially leading to changes in physical abilities like walking and difficulty in communicating.
World Alzheimer’s Month in September exists to challenge the stigmas surrounding dementia and empower seniors and their loved ones to reach out for the support and assistance they need. The 2021 theme of Know Dementia, Know Alzheimer’s spotlights the power of knowledge in the fight against Alzheimer’s and the continuing search for a cure. The World Health Organization and other nonprofit research groups estimate that more than 55 million people live with dementia worldwide.
Understanding the warning signs of dementia, proactively seeking a timely diagnosis, and continuing to learn about dementia and Alzheimer’s are all empowering steps to help older adults and families better able to prepare and adapt to any needed changes. Do not hesitate contact an Amada Senior Care advisor to learn more about resources to include specially trained Amada caregivers who can provide in-home care support to help seniors diagnosed with Alzheimer’s manage their symptoms and give respite to family caregivers.
At Amada, we know that caring for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia takes an endless amount of patience. Professional caregivers are trained to handle difficult situations and respond to the varying moods of their clients, but family caregivers usually have no previous experience to draw on. One of the most important things to know in caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia is how to communicate effectively.
Jo Huey, an Alzheimer’s caregiver for over 30 years, has created what she calls “The 10 Absolutes of Alzheimer’s Caregiving.” She shares more stories of her experiences in her book “Alzheimer’s Disease: Help and Hope.” The 10 Absolutes provide practical yet compassionate strategies for family caregivers to implement that are based on her personal experience. We hope you find some of these helpful.
- Never argue, instead agree.
- Never reason, instead divert.
- Never shame, instead distract.
- Never say “you can’t,” instead say “do what you can.”
- Never command or demand, instead ask or model.
- Never condescend, instead encourage and praise.
- Never say “remember,” instead reminisce.
- Never say “I told you,” instead repeat.
- Never lecture, instead reassure.
- Never force, instead reinforce.
In a nutshell, be understanding, attuned, and constantly aware of your loved one’s condition. It may be difficult to remember at times, but their mentally deteriorated state is not really “them,” and their misconceptions due to their condition are not their fault.
For more information and education about dementia and Alzheimer’s, click on the links below to these resources:
“How to Communicate with a Senior Loved One Who Has Alzheimer’s” written by Taylor French and updated by Michelle Flores, Amada blog contributors.