From childhood to adulthood, there are precious moments that are forever etched into your memory. These memories can be insignificant, like your mother sitting on the back porch reading while you and your sibling run around the yard catching fireflies in mason jars. Or perhaps they are more significant, like annual holiday get-togethers where all of your family is together, bonding over traditions and reminiscing about past memories.
Then, one day, you start to notice some pretty obvious changes in one of your parent – their demeanor, their personality, their lifestyle choices. Imagine that their calm, reassuring persona turns into one filled with indifference and anger. Imagine that the hobbies they once loved – fishing, gardening, reading – hold no importance in their life anymore and, instead, they are content sitting in their home mindlessly staring at the television screen. Or, even worse, imagine that one day you visit them and they can’t even remember your name, greeting you with as much compassion as they would a mailman or a next door neighbor.
Alzheimer’s disease is a tragic and, unfortunately, rather common disease, affecting over 5.3 million people who are 65 years of age and up. Alzheimer’s will gradually alter the parent you once knew into someone totally different, someone who you will have to get to know all over again, as if they were a stranger. While they slowly lose their memory, caring for them is going to be more difficult on you, since they have no recollection that anything has changed.
Loving Your Parents Through Alzheimer’s
In order to provide the most love and the best care to your loved one, it’s important you first seek support for yourself. Through these support groups, you can also obtain advice from individuals who have had personal experience dealing with every challenge you are currently being exposed to. They will be able to offer you better insight into supporting your parent than a book or an online article might.
Create A Routine
The most demanding aspect of Alzheimer’s is keeping up with your parent’s fluctuating moods and mentality. It may be exhausting, but try to get a feel for the way they are acting every time you visit and plan the day around that to ensure the least amount of frustration, which will coincide with a lower number of arguments.
Relearn How To Communicate
The way you once communicated with your parent may not be suitable as their personality continues to shift. Practice understanding and patience with your loved one. Because they may have difficulty expressing their thoughts, they may become very quick-tempered. If you interrupt them or become frustrated with them, it’s only going to worsen the interaction.
You cannot bear the burden of care alone. While you want to dedicate your time to caring for your parent, you still have a life to maintain as well. Consider enrolling your parent in adult day care or a similar service so you can have peace of mind knowing that they are being cared for as you carry out your own responsibilities.
Did you know that poor dental health and Alzheimer’s disease could be connected? At Onsite Dentists Of Texas, we specialize in elderly dental care to ensure that seniors’ oral health is a priority, which could potentially work to reduce the risk of a loved one developing Alzheimer’s in the future. To learn more, contact us!