Alzheimer’s, a form of dementia, affects more than 5 million Americans and could affect as many as 16 million by the year 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. While many people understand the disease, it can be very difficult to fully comprehend what it is like to have Alzheimer’s.
In order to help loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s, we need to remember a few things about Alzheimer’s patients:
They are still the same person – People living with Alzheimer’s do not need to be defined by their condition. They still like and dislike all the same things they did before there diagnosis. While their behavior will change, the things that make them who they are will not.
They want you to focus on what they can do – While there will be many challenges for people living with Alzheimer’s, it is important to focus on the things that they can do rather than what they can’t. Alzheimer’s patients can still live well, especially if they are kept socially and physically active.
They need companionship – Even though they might not remember that you were there, when you are spending time with someone with Alzheimer’s, they do enjoy your company. It is important to maintain these meaningful relationships, even as it becomes difficult to communicate. Keep conversation simple and continue to be there for them – the good feeling from a visit can last the entire day.