Dealing With the Stress of Alzheimer’s Disease

The reality that someone you care about has Alzheimer’s can be overwhelming and may trigger a range of emotions: anger, fear, frustration and sadness. Family conflicts are common as the family struggles to deal with the changes.

To minimize the stress, try dealing with the issues together.
There are many ways that family members can help.
Some may be better at dealing with the financial responsibilities.
Others may feel helpful with doing the household chores and errands.

It is best to communicate as a whole group on a regular basis. If meeting physically is not possible, try sending emails and including all that are involved in your loved ones care.

Be open to compromise and suggestions that other family members may have.
Remember there isn’t any right or wrong way, it is the way that best meets the needs of your family member.
Caring for your loved one and enjoying your time together is most important.

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Tips for Communicating with a Person with Alzheimer’s

Here are some communication tips that can help make the day a lot easier for the caregiver and the person with Alzheimer’s:

* Always approach a person with Alzheimer’s from the front. Do not come up from behind them. It is alarming to them.
* Look directly at the person and make sure you have their attention before speaking to them.
* Do not become frustrated with the person. If they see your frustration, they in turn will become frustrated and you will accomplish nothing.
* Don’t speak to the person like they are a child. Use your normal tone of voice, just like you are speaking to any other person.
* Remember it is the person’s “right now” memory that is gone, don’t use long sentences.
* If you want the person to go with you somewhere, it is easier if you take them by the hand and lead the way. Talk to them as you are walking so they
understand where you are leading them.
* Finally, smile a lot. This makes the Alzheimer’s person feel safe and happy and comfortable. A smile will go a long way to making the day a good one.

Accepting Alzheimer’s Disease

One of my favorite authors about Alzheimer’s disease, Marie Marley, wrote: “All too often loved ones of people with dementia are in denial. They spend their time trying to get the person to “act normal.” Trying to get them to remember and do things. This often leads to anger and frustration for the visitor and also for the person with Alzheimer’s as well.”

A person with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may ask a loved one the same question over and over again. For example: Where are the children? You may not know what children they are referring to. Rather than become frustrated trying to find out from the Alzheimer’s patient what children they are referring to it is easier to just give an answer, such as: They are in school. This will eliminate a lot of frustration for all concerned and you will be able to enjoy your time. Another way is to change the subject. Try focusing on something in the present moment that doesn’t involve the person’s memory. Looking at photographs is always a good way to keep the person occupied. Try putting together a photo album that you can use on your visits or letting the person with Alzheimer’s help you put the album together. This could be a good experience for both of you.

The History Behind Alzheimer’s Disease

There is so much talk about Alzheimer’s disease, but what do we know about the person who discovered it?

Dr. Alois Alzheimer was a young doctor who worked at the Frankfurt Clinic where the first person known to have Alzheimer’s disease was a patient. Auguste Deter was in her early fifties in 1890 when she was admitted to the Frankfurt Mental Clinic with problems sleeping and identifying herself. One of the file notes recorded her as saying, ” I have lost myself.”
Alzheimer was not Auguste’s primary caregiver throughout her stay at the Clinic, but he continued to follow her case throughout the years. When Auguste died in 1906, Alois Alzheimer had slices of tissue taken from her brain and brought them to his new facility in Munich. Performing a series of tests on the tissue he noticed little tangles of nerves, now called neurofibrillary tangles. He also noticed little plaques.

The next year he presented his findings at a meeting of the South-West German Psychiatrists, and spent the next few decades examining the brains of other patients who showed similar mental decline as Auguste.

Emil Kraepelin was the first to promote Alzheimer’s work. Alois Alzheimer discovered the disease, but Kraepelin presented it to the world. After Alois Alzheimer died in 1915, Emil put the information known about the disease in textbooks. He was the person who got doctors all over the world looking for something more than senility.

Today research continues, but still not a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but with the help of doctors and scientists such as Alois Alzheimer we are so much closer.

Planning for the Future for Loved Ones with Alzheimer’s Disease

Planning for the future is essential to all of us, especially for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease.
If you start early, the loved one with Alzheimer’s may be able to help with the decisions.
Examining all the costs that one could possibly face with Alzheimer’s disease is the first steps to take.
Checking into Long Term Care Insurance, Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts and Power of Attorney is an important step to take.
You will also want to consider the cost for prescription drugs, In-home Health Care, Personal care supplies, and cost for
Long term care as the disease progresses. Experienced Elder Law Attorneys and Financial Planners can be very helpful.

Alois Alzheimer Foundation in partnership with Elsa Heisel Sule Foundation are sponsoring a free seminar for Financial Planning
on Saturday, August 29 8:00am-12:45pm at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Crestview Hills, KY
To register click here…