Today, I’m going to take you on a little journey. A glimpse of five minutes in the life of a senior with Alzheimer’s. Take a deep breath, breathe in, hold it and breathe out. Do you feel relaxed? Good, now let’s start on our journey.
First, imagine you have no shoes and socks on your feet but instead of walking on carpet or wood floors, you are walking on rocks. Do you feel the pain in your feet? Now imagine they are not smooth rocks but pointy, unmovable rocks and every step you take hurts so much. This is what most seniors feel when they walk either because they have Alzheimer’s or diabetes or neuropathy or any numerous other conditions which causes constant foot pain.
Now, let’s add in our hands. Imagine having gloves on your hands. But wait, let’s put corn in the fingertips of the gloves and okay, make those gloves to be the thick gardening gloves. Now, imagine trying to pick up a coin off the table in front of you with these thick gardening gloves that has corn in the fingertips. Are you struggling to pick of the quarter? Impossible isn’t it? And yet, we expect our seniors to still pick up a knife or fork and have proper table manners. This gets to be extremely hard to do as the Alzheimer’s person gets further into the disease.
What next may be affected, let’s go with hearing. Hearing loss can show up in many different ways. It may be the senior just needed hearing aids and never got them or didn’t get them in time. Or they still think they can hear perfectly fine and is in total denial that they have a hearing issue. The mind has an interesting job to do then; it grabs hold of only certain words or sounds and leaves the rest out. So, you may hear me saying get your socks and shoes, but my mind will only process so much. Wasn’t that easy, did you understand everything I said? I really doubt it; but we always assume when we are talking with a senior that they understand and know everything we are saying.
Eyesight is also greatly affected as a senior goes further into the disease. The brain can no longer understand what both eyes are seeing; so, the brain basically shuts down one eye and the senior sees everything with monocular vision. As much as you want to right now, don’t open your eyes but imagine seeing everything with only one eye. How hard is that? And yet, we want our seniors to function the same as us. It’s not possible!
Taste is also affected. The brain can only register sweet and salty so if our seniors with Alzheimer’s are left to their own device, they will only eat candy and potatoes chips. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, we all know there is no nutritional value in either of these food groups. This promotes malnutrition which can lead to all types of additional health issues i.e. diabetes, UTIs, dizziness, dehydration, on and on.
The Alzheimer’s disease shuts down the brain over time until the only things left will be the right temporal side which stores bad words, old memories, social chit-chat. The senior can usually still dance and enjoys rhythm and music. They just cannot make wise decisions or come out of their shell for a very long periods of time. But we love them, we take care of them no matter what each senior is facing today or tomorrow. Senior Helpers is here to help the senior and the family understand and enjoy each day to the fullest.