Your Loved One Has Alzheimer's. Now What?
Alzheimer’s Disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, as reported in the 2015 Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures report published by The Alzheimer’s Association. It accounts for roughly 60 to 80 percent of all dementia cases. While there is no cure, Presbyterian Senior Living and our affiliate communities—along with numerous other health and senior care organizations across the country—understand how difficult it can be coping with the challenges of Alzheimer’s. It's our pleasure to provide continuous support and education on this progressive disease.
If you or a loved one has Alzheimer's or other related dementia, you are not alone. The more you learn about the disease and the sooner you seek support, the better prepared you’ll be for the journey ahead.
There is Hope After an Alzheimer's Diagnosis
Balancing life as a caregiver—particularly when a loved one has been newly diagnosed or is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s—can be difficult, stressful, and overwhelming. It's an enormous task to take on alone. The good news is you don't have to do it by yourself. There are many resources available. Most importantly, there are people you can lean on.
As a provider of senior living services with a mission focused on the wholeness of body, mind, and spirit, we can help. Our communities provide care and support for people with Alzheimer's and other forms of memory impairment. Contact us to learn more about Alzheimer's and Memory Support and how we may be able to help you.
There is hope after an Alzheimer's diagnosis. Your loved one has Alzheimer's; it doesn't have you. So, it's important for you, as a caregiver, to stay strong and educate yourself. Knowledge is power and it will help prepare you for the journey.
What to Do if a Loved One Has Alzheimer's
- Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help. Help comes in all shapes and forms—from family members, friends, or reliable experts in your area. Accepting help from others is essential to your own health and personal satisfaction. Don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need and when someone offers help, willingly accept it. This will allow you that much needed respite time so you can refresh and renew for the journey ahead.
- Educate Yourself on the Disease. What is Alzheimer’s Disease? How do you care for someone who’s been diagnosed? What are the stages and what’s to be expected? It’s important to educate yourself as much as you can about Alzheimer’s. There are three general stages and what a person experiences in those stages are very different. Learn about the symptoms and treatment options so you’ll be better able to cope and help your loved one as they progress.
- Learn How to Manage Stress. As a caregiver, you’re faced with a lot of demands. Juggling work, family, and career can seem like an endless cycle. Caregiver stress is real and unavoidable. However, with the right tools in place, you can manage your life as a caregiver along with your other responsibilities. Exercise, meditation, and yoga are just a few ways you can find relief. Check out these other stress relieving activities.
- Find a Support Group. “No man is an island,” quotes the great English poet John Donne. We are all part of a greater whole and need the care, comfort, and support of others. Alone, we are vulnerable, but together we are strong. Support groups are great for making connections and finding others going through similar situations. Sharing your experiences in a group setting or one-on-one can be very cathartic. Take the opportunity to learn from others, ask questions, and seek advice.
Signs You May Need Help
Remember that it’s your loved one who has Alzheimer’s, not you. Take time out for yourself. This is the only way you can truly be an effective caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s. When you are stressed, so is your loved one. If you feel or experience any of the following during your caregiver journey, you may need help.
- Anxiety, depression, or exhaustion
- Denial about the situation or the disease
- Irritability towards your loved one, family, friends, or co-workers
- Health problems, weight loss, lack of appetite
- Loss of energy or social isolation
Don’t wait until it’s too late; seek out a qualified health care expert in your area or support group. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is stressful, but manageable. While there is nothing that can be done to prevent your loved one from progressing to the next stage, a healthy and engaged life for you and your loved one can help you cope with the challenges you are facing.
About Presbyterian Senior Living
Presbyterian Senior Living is a not-for-profit organization, fulfilling its charitable purpose and mission by providing high quality retirement choices, healthcare services and affordable residential living options for people 55 and older for more than 85 years. Headquartered in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, Presbyterian Senior Living provides services to approximately 6,000 seniors in 30 locations in the mid-Atlantic region of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio and Delaware.