No illness is more debilitating and worrisome than Alzheimer’s or dementia. It’s heartbreaking when your parent fails to recognize you, or his or her personality changes. It also makes the caregiving process a bit more challenging, so our Alzheimer’s care professionals always account for the illness-related behavior.
Although there are currently thousands of Alzheimer’s research initiatives, by most estimates, a cure is almost a decade away. That means the best we can do is to slow the progression of the disease as much as possible. Dr. Fillit, Chairman of the Alzheimer’s Research Foundation and LifeWorx Advisory Board Member, recommends taking these steps:
- Maintaining your loved one’s daily activities;
- Providing social interaction;
- Ensuring good nutrition;
- Offering intellectual stimulation.
“I feel like I have my life back,” Claire says.
A LifeWorx Alzheimer’s and dementia home care professional can make sure your loved one has all the above. Take, for instance, Claire*, who called us one day from Stuyvesant Town in Manhattan. In a shaky voice, she told us that her husband, Tom*, was sitting at the park, refusing to return home. We recommended she just go be with him where he was. She obliged and promised to be back in touch. A few minutes later, she called again and said she was afraid of Tom, who was a large man.
Claire and Tom had loved each other for more than 40 years, but he was now suffering from a serious case of Alzheimer’s, which was worsening rapidly of late. Somehow, they had ended up in the park outside their apartment, wondering what their next steps would be. We told Claire that we would send over an Alzheimer’s care professional who would know how to positively persuade her husband, understand the changes in his thinking and moods, and be a friend.
Tom and his new caregiver hit it off within an hour, and as they did, Tom calmed down. The caregiver immediately began 24-hour Alzheimer’s care with Tom. Later, Claire called again and thanked us, saying she had slept well that night. These days, the caregiver is a constant companion, even traveling with Claire and Tom to their vacation home. “I feel like I have my life back,” Claire said.
Being the spouse of someone with Alzheimer’s is difficult, as is being that person’s child. You’re troubled by your loved one’s illness and it becomes more complex and unpredictable to interact with him or her. Sometimes it’s difficult to disengage emotionally, but it’s best to do so, and often to employ an intermediary as well. There’s no doubt that home care for elderly people with dementia can be difficult. But Alzheimer’s care professionals have taken care of a wide variety of Alzheimer’s patients, from those who are sweet and kind to those who are deeply frustrated. They understand that in difficult moments, it is the illness speaking and not the person. They shrug off these tough times and put their heart into providing the care your loved one needs.
* Names changed for privacy