The diagnosis has been confirmed. Your loved one has Alzheimer’s Disease so what can you do to make life easier for both of you now and in the future?
“It is important to get the right information and avoid the misconceptions surrounding the disease. Many people are so terrified when they hear the diagnosis; they can’t think clearly and don’t know what to do,” said Bob Tucker, a qualified dementia care provider (QDCP) and co-owner of Northbrook-based Senior Helpers serving the north and northwest suburbs to the Wisconsin border.
“It is important to find a doctor who has experience treating Alzheimer’s and to reach out to organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Association for education and support. Our location is the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) affiliate office for the entire Chicago area.
Tucker believes taking the following actions can help the individual feel he or she still has some control over their life.
Try and keep everyday activities as part of a routine. In addition, you may want to place clocks and calendars around the house to help your loved one focus on the month, day and time-and not missing important dates and appointments.
Physical exercise is good for the brain as well as an individual’s physical health. Exercise can be as simple as taking regular walks. In inclement weather consider a stroll through a local mall. Most senior and community centers have a wide array of exercise options to choose from...many specifically for seniors.
Engage in as many brain games as possible. Your loved one may still be able to play numerous card games, board or computer games. Encourage friends and family members to join the fun and play.
Eat a brain healthy diet
It is important to eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables and omega 3 fatty acids as found in certain fish. Doctors know that many older people don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables so try to include at least five servings a day in the meal plan. The Mediterranean and new Nordic Diet are the ideal, and they can keep your heart healthy as well.
Any type of stress can aggravate the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. This stress can lead to aggression or paranoia. Try to engage in meditation techniques that can help alleviate stress by taking a Yoga, a Tai Chi other mind and body type class. As always, check with the doctor if you have any concerns about exercising and start off slow.
Plan for the future
“It is important that anyone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease has updated legal, financial and healthcare plans such as a living will, trust and end-of-life care planning. It is best to do this as early as possible so the individual can still clearly convey their wishes and make rational decisions,” said Abbie Tucker, senior advocate and client services director, certified senior advisor (C.S.A.) and a qualified dementia care provider (QDCP).
Abbie Tucker also suggests that you let the police and fire departments know the situation. Be sure to let the neighbors know too. If possible, join a support group and be sure to take care of yourself with adequate rest, respite and a caring support team of friends, family and healthcare providers who can all play a role. Consider hiring a home care agency to provide professional, caring support, for at least a few hours each week, to lessen your stress.
If you are concerned about someone who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, this office has established an Alzheimer’s/Dementia Care Resource Center for the community with materials-books, articles, magazines and DVDs that can be taken free of charge.
For more information, please contact Bob Tucker at Senior Helpers: 847-564-7500 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.