Counseling Types For Managing Your Family Member’s Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is progressive dementia that affects a person’s memory and intellect. Moreover, this disease also affects behavior and psychological state. Medications and treatment help treat signs and symptoms of this illness. But counseling with a trusted therapist is also a growing option to help manage the condition.

Here are the different types of counseling your therapist may recommend in managing you or your family member’s Alzheimer disease:

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Individual Counseling

This type of counseling involves an individual, one-on-one arrangement with a therapist. There are moments when group counseling can be challenging to share. With that, this type can be an opportunity to present feelings and emotions in private.

Moreover, it facilitates discussion of personal issues that may result from Alzheimer’s disease. One-on-one sessions allow private discussion of sensitive topics like depression, anxiety, or grief. So if you opt for this type of therapy, pick a professional who you can trust the most with your problems.

Therapy For Family

Alzheimer’s disease may develop in only one family member. But its aggravation in various aspects such as finances, lifestyle, and communication may concern the entire family. 

Family counseling can help bridge the family’s needs to adapt to changes and fortify relationships. It can also assist in facilitating better communications with someone who has Alzheimer’s disease.

The therapist can help fix conflicts and learn new ways to create a safe environment for everyone in the family. Therapies usually last for more than one session. Because of that, it is best to find a counselor with whom your family can connect and feel at ease.

Couples Counseling 

Another type of counseling that involves family help is couple counseling. Alzheimer’s disease may also affect relationships between couples. This specific form of therapy can be of immense help.

A 2009 study has tallied that counseling couples with one member having an early-stage Alzheimer’s disease are ‘possible and worthwhile.’

They suggested that each dyad member should use an optimistic collaboration and a nonjudgmental approach. Moreover, they emphasize that with a non-blaming attitude, a relationship can stay constant and firm over time.

Couple therapies can benefit partners, but it offers more assistance to the member suffering from the illness. This therapy can help the person share his thoughts more freely. It also helps the patient adapt to mental changes through the help of his partner.

Group-Held Therapies

Group counseling is another option in managing Alzheimer’s disease. In group therapy, participants share and tell their problems with the help of a counselor.

By talking and hearing from other people with the same condition, it can bring comfort. The group can help individuals with Alzheimer’s disease confide with participants and generate hope to heal from its symptoms.

In group counseling, it is not a requirement that all members be suffering from a similar condition. Groups may include individuals who have tendencies of developing Alzheimer’s disease based on their family history. Through group counseling, they learn preventive measures early on.

This platform will also allow other people who do not have Alzheimer’s disease to share their support and compassion with the patients. 

Self-Help Support Groups

Unlike group therapy, self-help and support groups require that everyone participating have the same condition. For people with Alzheimer’s disease, this can be a platform for understanding their needs from other patients.

Attending these facilitated discussions may also help others apply and learn coping mechanisms. These learnings can help combat symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Self-help support groups usually take place on regular schedules. Either mental health professionals (therapists or psychologists) or advocates facilitate it.

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Crisis-Intervention Counseling

Alzheimer’s disease may include symptoms like depressive or distressed mood, impaired thinking, and suicidal tendencies. If you or a family member could be experiencing these warning signs, contact your attending physician immediately. You may also call 911 if there are episodes when symptoms are difficult to manage or ease.

Psychotherapy and CBT

Talk therapies offer promising help to people with early to middle stages of the condition. The therapist will usually refer you to a type of talk therapy that suits your preferences and choices. The different talk therapies that can help include psychotherapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

Psychotherapy is a set of talk therapies. It aims to help patients understand how their personal beliefs and experiences may affect their internal thoughts and overall feelings. It helps align their thought patterns and behavior coherently to have better coping mechanisms under challenging situations.

People with Alzheimer’s disease may benefit from reframing their mental states. Through this, they may veer away from depression and anxiety tendencies.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) meanwhile is also beneficial for people with Alzheimer’s disease. This process engages patients to use their cognition to alter their behavior.  This process engages patients in using their cognition to change their behavior. Professionals usually gather information about you first before treatment. 

Once done, the doctor will instruct you to be aware of your present thoughts. They will suggest using reframing techniques to correct your ailing thought patterns.

CBT for patients with Alzheimer’s disease may require modification in session length. Moreover, therapists may ask family members to assist and participate in the therapy sessions.

Residential Treatment

Living in a recovery facility will also help you get counseling. Counseling done through this is usually long-term and may have a year or weekly duration.

Activities here include daily counseling and regular group therapy. In these situations, professionals let you focus on your problem and personal healing outside the pressure of your work, business, or family. Patients will also need to attend more counseling after having a course in residential treatment.

Conclusion

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The benefits of counseling to patients include better mental and emotional well-being and increased management of symptoms. At the same time, families of these clients may also learn a lot about managing conflicts, coping strategies, and better understanding when they get involved in counseling sessions.

Having the best therapist to work with you and your preferences will be a big help throughout your treatment. Only make appointments with counselors who have sufficient education, client respect, and patient compassion.

Refrain from staying with a counselor that does not promote wellness. Also, watch out for therapists whose techniques are not effective in the long run.

Aside from therapists, you may also ask for help from social workers or geriatric psychiatrists. These professionals can also assist in managing Alzheimer’s disease.

When To Seek Counseling For Alzheimer’s

Major life events are bound to happen through time. When faced with a significant change or challenge, how do you cope? Each person has their way of dealing with distress, especially with a diagnosis as life-changing as Alzheimer’s disease. It is good to be able to cope on our own.

But, it is also vital to know when to seek help.

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Facing The Changes To Come

Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative neurologic condition where brain cells gradually die. To this day, there is still no known cure for the disease. We can expect progressive memory loss, but this does not mean the quality of life must also decline. There are ways to slow down its progression, and most of all, cope with the condition.

To face the changes bound to come, you must be well-prepared. You can expect moments of repeated conversations, questions, and statements.

A person with Alzheimer’s is likely to forget the simplest of appointments to the most meaningful information, such as names. Items around the house may frequently get lost. Eventually, the person may lose their way when they go out.

These are classic hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. It can be life-changing, not only for the patient but their loved ones as well. It is a journey requiring physical, mental, and emotional resilience.

There will be points of making hard decisions and adjusting to non-negotiable changes. Good thing, there are different forms of help and counseling available along the way.

The Effects And Challenges of Alzheimer’s Disease

Patients, family members, and caregivers will all experience the effects and challenges caused by Alzheimer’s. The context and dynamics between the people involved will determine the impact of these changes. Here are some signs it may be time to seek the help of a counselor.

  • Difficulty Recognizing Changes Caused By Alzheimer’s

People with Alzheimer’s may not always be aware of their condition. They may forget their diagnosis later on. It is also typical to cope with denial, especially in the early stages. A counselor may help in recognizing the changes and problems. Awareness is the first step in finding a solution and adapting to change.

It is also time to talk to a counselor if the patient or family needs help in making decisions. Impaired judgment is an effect of Alzheimer’s, so patients may need guidance and counseling in making or accepting choices. Family members may also find it hard to make life-changing decisions, such as considering a nursing home.

  • Heavy Impact On Everyday Life

When dealing with the impact on daily life becomes overwhelming, you might want to talk to a counselor. People with Alzheimer’s are likely to have trouble performing daily tasks which were once familiar.

There will be changes in sleeping habits and routine, and things may not be the way they used to be. A counselor will help the patient and family cope with these changes.

Other factors may also affect everyday life, such as the comorbidities of the condition. Patients are predisposed to developing depression along with Alzheimer’s. Mental health issues like these will need the help of a counselor.

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  • Breakdown In Communication

Family members may feel like they are slowly losing their loved one to Alzheimer’s. Eventually, communication may become difficult because of repeated statements.

The patient may also find it hard to express themselves with a loss for words. It then leads to a breakdown in communication within the home. A counselor may help facilitate understanding in the home environment.

Another reason for a communication breakdown is when a patient develops social withdrawal and apathy. They may become distrustful towards others, even spouses or children. A counselor may help family members find ways to communicate with their loved ones effectively.

  • Strain In Social Relations

A drastic change in social participation could necessitate the help of a counselor. Remember to expect changes in personality and behavior.

A person with Alzheimer’s may frequently exhibit mood swings, irritability, aggression, and loss of controlling impulses/ inhibition. This can cause a change in the relationship between spouses, children, grandchildren, friends, and caregivers. What’s important is to keep the relationship healthy.

One effect of Alzheimer’s is having delusions. It may affect how patients perceive their relationships with others. They may eventually be unable to recognize their loved ones, and a counselor will help avoid possible strains in relationships.

  • Issues With Role Patterns

There are different intervention strategies to help patients preserve their skills. The area of the brain responsible for performing skills we have learned in the past is usually affected last.

It means patients may still participate in activities they love to do, such as playing music, crocheting, and more. It gives them a sense of purpose, but it is time to talk to a counselor once they lose this.

People with Alzheimer’s have roles they value before the disease. It may be a wife, a mother, a professional, a member of the community, and more. Changes in roles within the family may also occur. Counselors help families realize their newfound roles with these changes. 

What Happens When I Seek Counseling For Alzheimer’s?

There are several medical health professionals you may approach to help you deal with Alzheimer’s. Medical doctors such as geriatric physicians and psychiatrists can help you diagnose and determine which strategies you can do. 

Meanwhile, psychologists, family therapists, social workers, and other professionals can help you with the more specific type of counseling.

Here are some of the techniques and strategies that medical and mental health professionals offer for people with Alzheimer’s:

  • Individual Counseling
  • Crisis Intervention Counseling
  • Self-help and Support Groups
  • Family Therapy
  • Group Therapy

Benefits of Seeking Counseling

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Seeking medical and psychological help can make a significant impact on the elderly’s mental and emotional capacities. Not only will it prevent their condition from getting worse, but they can also enjoy priceless benefits from counseling. Here are a few things on how counseling can help you and your loved one:

  • Health Maintenance  Education And Medical Care

Counseling offers education on what strategies and procedures you can do to prevent, maintain, and promote an elderly’s holistic health. It is hopeful for the elderly, their caregivers, and their families that there is still something they can do. With proper medical care, their lifestyles and diet can be modified to best suit their needs.

  • Emotional Support

With counseling, everyone, including the elderly and the caregivers, can have fewer anxieties and burdens. Counseling can give you peace of mind that you are not alone in battling Alzheimer’s. Given the right programs and interventions, we can assure the quality of life for everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dialectical Therapy

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder common among the old population. It affects memory as well as thinking skills. As time goes by, it can also eventually hamper the ability to carry out daily tasks. 

Much like any other mental health disease, those with Alzheimer’s would need support from family members. But more importantly, help from professionals through therapy and medication would be useful as well. 

Over time, society has become more and more open to the topic of mental health illnesses. With that, there have been recent discoveries on the types of methods to help people with their situation. It helps people to cope better and integrate well into society. One of these recent methods is Dialectical Behavior Therapy.

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Dialectical Behavior Therapy is a kind of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. As such, it tries to help patients to become aware and identify negative thinking patterns.

The goal of DBT is to teach patients how to develop healthier ways to cope with stress and manage their emotions. Through DBT, patients can build a good relationship with themselves and others.  

Dr. Marhsa Linahan and her colleagues developed DBT in the 1980s. It acts as a supplement to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is solely inadequate to help people with Borderline Personality Disorder. Dr. Linehan and her team added techniques and developed DBT to aid better the patients with BPD. 

DBT was originally for people with Borderline Personality Disorder who have thoughts of self-harm and suicide. However, this method is also found to be an effective treatment for different conditions like:

  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Eating Disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Substance Abuse Problems

DBT bases on a philosophical process called dialectics. In dialectics, two opposing viewpoints constantly clash with each other.  Change happens when there’s a dialogue between these two factors. Then, a synthesis emerges out of this dialogue between these two contradicting factors.

Relating this to DBT, a patient and a therapist can work together to resolve issues between the patient’s self-acceptance and change. The dialogue between these two factors will bring about positive changes in the patient’s well-being.

If you’re interested in learning more about DBT and how it can help with your condition, we listed below some frequently asked questions about it. 

What are the six main points of dialectical behavior therapy?

There are six main points involved under Dialectic Behavior Therapy where change happens. It consists of pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and termination. Expect to encounter these stages while undergoing dialectical behavior therapy.

Pre-contemplation is the stage of denial and zero awareness about the situation. As the clients walk through the therapy, new stages will open to transform their behavior.

What is DBT therapy used for?

Initially, DBT was created to help people with borderline personality disorder and clients who experience suicidal thoughts and behavior. However, this therapy has been adapted to treat other mental health problems, including alcoholic and drug problems, binge-eating disorder, and depression.

What is the difference between cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical-behavioral therapy?

CBT focuses on recognizing the patients’ thoughts that might be troublesome and redirecting thought strategies. In CBT, therapists try to determine and transform negative thinking patterns. It aims to defy the negativity and push positive behavioral changes.

In contrast, DBT is a form of CBT wherein it helps people acknowledge their personality and deal with their emotions. This way, they can regulate their potentially harmful and detrimental behaviors.

DBT may be utilized in handling patients with suicidal and other self-destructive behaviors. Through DBT, therapists teach their patients how to adapt to changes.

What are the DBT skills?

There are three DBT skills the patient should adapt, which are observing, describing, and participating. All of these are under core mindfulness skills, the foundation of all DBT skills training.

What does it mean to think dialectically?

Dialectical is the combination of two opposite ideas in therapy, which are acceptance and change. But, these two opposing ideas aim to bring better results.

Dialectical thinking means the ability of a person to view issues from different perspectives and reconcile contradictory ideas. Through the collision of multiple perspectives, it creates new truth.

Does DBT work for depression?

DBT is a form of CBT that is designed for people with borderline personality disorder. Along the way, it has been found to treat other forms of behavioral and emotional challenges, including depression, effectively.

What is CBT not good for?

CBT is not apt for more elaborate mental health conditions. In some cases, doing CBT may rather be counterproductive instead. For example, there is no existing evidence that CBT can treat schizophrenia.

Meanwhile, CBT can also be ineffective for people with bipolar disorder. At times, this therapy can have limited effects on depression.

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What are the 4 modules of DBT?

DBT Skills training includes core mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. This therapy aims to assist individuals in dealing with their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

  • Mindfulness: It is being more conscious about yourself and others and being attentive to the present.
  • Emotion regulation: It focuses on acknowledging and adjusting your emotions.
  • Distress tolerance: Intense burst of feeling such as anger but with proper management of emotion.
  • Interpersonal effectiveness: Identifying the conflicts and developing better solutions.

How long does DBT therapy last?

DBT consists of four main modules: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. Patients usually spend six weeks to accomplish each module. Although there is no fixed time to finish all the modules, it usually takes around six months to complete a full course of DBT.

Who needs dialectical therapy?

DBT was initially intended to help people with borderline personality disorder. This type of disorder can lead to acute emotional distress wherein they experience intense bursts of anger and aggression, a sudden shift of mood, and extreme fear of rejection.

Additionally, DBT has been adapted to treat people who exhibit self-harm and experience problems dealing with their emotions. It includes eating disorders and depression.

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Mental health problems can disable many from living a good life. Luckily, we now have access to different procedures, which help people with mental health disorders live their lives to the fullest. One of which is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. 

DBT is an effective treatment for different mental health issues like Borderline Personality Disorder, eating disorders, and depression. It helps patients to develop strategies to deal with their emotions and cope better with positive behavior.

This kind of therapy uses a unique kind of process to confront issues within themselves through dialectics. With this, the patient can develop a new perspective on how they should take their experiences, behaviors, and emotions. 

DBT has four major modules that help patients effectively change their behavior. Through these modules, they can become more aware of their present emotions and regulate them. Additionally, patients learn how to handle personal conflicts in a healthier way. 

More importantly, DBT helps patients decrease the risk of suicide and self-harm, and other harmful behaviors. By undergoing this therapy, patients will live independently without posing a risk for themselves and others. More so, they can integrate into society and live their life in a better and healthier manner. 

Mental Health Woes: Should I Bring My Ailing Mother To Nursing Home?

My mother was the only constant person for most of my life. You see, I never knew my father, and Mom was nothing but honest about the fact that I was a product of a one-sided love affair. He left after finding out that I existed.

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My mother was too kind to tell me not to harbor hatred towards him, but I still did for some time. It was not because I grew up feeling inadequate or unloved – that was not the case since Mom showered me with more attention and love than I could ever need. I was merely mad because my father left her without giving financial support while raising me. That caused Mom to juggle three part-time jobs to look after me and my growing needs. She did not have time to get a proper haircut at the salon or spend time with her friends, and I felt helpless as a young kid because of that.

When I went to college, I promised Mom that she would no longer need to care for me. After all, I got a full-ride scholarship at Yale University, thanks to my impressive accomplishments throughout middle school and high school. I was also eligible to obtain student loans that could cover my books, tuition, and accommodation. And all the other expenses could be paid for by my part-time job at a publishing company. 

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Despite that, Mom was stubborn enough to complain and say, “Come on. Can’t I even pay for your food? What kind of a mother am I if I let you go out in the world without financial support before you are ready for it?” No matter how much I declined her money, she would often wire the dollars to my bank account. I would only get wind of it whenever she would call and ask me to check if the money already arrived. 

Looking After My Mother

Since Mom had always been so good to me, I made sure to marry a man who would let her live with us. That man turned out to Burr. According to my mother, he was the best son-in-law that she could ask for because Burr always treated her with respect. Whenever he came home with a gift for me, Mom would always get one, too. In his own words, “You already went through so much in life, ladies. Now, let me pamper you both like the queens you are meant to be.”

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When my mother started living with us, I found a way to keep her from going to work. Burr and I already had a baby at the time, and I told my mother that I needed help taking care of little Josh. She loved her only grandson too much to let me get a nanny, so she volunteered to babysit sometimes. It gave her a new purpose, and I did not have to worry about her getting in an accident to or from work. It was a win-win situation, for sure.

But then, after Mom turned 60 years old, things started to get crazy. Sometimes, I would find her standing in front of the door in deep thought. Whenever I asked what she was doing there, she would say, “I forgot the way to the supermarket” or “I had to do something, but I could not remember it.” Other times, she would stay in the garden, planting and repotting the same flowers. Still, I did not take her to a neurologist until Josh came to the kitchen one day, frowning. He uttered, “Nana’s weird. We were playing Jenga just now, but she suddenly turned serious and asked who I was.”

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The specialist tested my mother multiple times before the bad news came: Mom had Alzheimer’s. It was only in the early stages, but there was no cure for this disease, so she would inevitably get worse. 

Thinking Of Bringing My Ailing Mother To A Nursing Home

I wouldn’t lie – I genuinely thought of bringing my mother to a nursing home as soon as I found out that she had Alzheimer’s disease. You might hate me for even thinking about it, but I got scared of what could happen if she stayed at home with us.

Burr and I were not always in the house to keep an eye on Mom. Although Josh was already a teenager at the time, he was also busy with sports and school. It would be too much to ask him to leave everything behind to look after Nana. I thought that we would do Mom a favor by taking her to the nursing home because the caregivers would be able to check on her all the time.

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I merely changed my mind when I talked to the doctor privately, and he told me that Alzheimer’s patients who lived with family often regressed more slowly than others who lived by themselves. It was the best advice I took. After five years of having the condition, my mother barely reverted. I knew that it would still take time before Mom would forget any of us, and we wanted to make the most out of our time with her. 

 

How To Make Your Family Member’s Alzheimer’s Less Painful To Accept

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My father had been our family’s constant rock. While growing up, I watched him tackle three jobs every week. What little free time he had, he spent it making us laugh and taking us to the park. Looking back now, I don’t think he got more than three hours of sleep, especially when my sister and I started going to school.

Once I graduated from college and landed a stable job immediately, I asked Dad to stop working. I said, “You have already done your job; let me take care of you.” However, he insisted that doing so would weaken him, so I allowed him to keep his sorting work at the post office. It meant that my father would stay on a desk all day long; that’s why he won’t get too tired.

Dad’s daily routine had been the same for a few years after that. My sister and I would visit him every weekend, especially when Mom passed away, and he was left alone at home. We offered to take him in, but he was too independent to live with us.

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Despite that, I started worrying when Dad’s neighbor and best friend called one day and expressed his concern regarding my father’s seemingly odd behavior. He uttered, “I saw your pops standing in front of his house several nights ago, just staring at the door. When I asked what’s wrong, he said he forgot where he placed the keys, but it was in his breast pocket. Then, the other day, I met him on the street, but he did not recognize me at first. It took him some moments before remembering who I was, which was super bizarre.”

I discussed the matter with my sister, and we decided to take Dad to a neurologist. Although I had an assumption about what’s possibly causing such behaviors, I kept it to myself. I hoped that not saying it out loud would prevent it from coming true. Unfortunately, after conducting some tests, it became clear to everyone that my father showed early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

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The Pain Of Accepting My Father’s Condition

The news was not unexpected, but it was still too painful to accept. After all, Grandpa had the same illness before she died when I was young. I researched Alzheimer’s back then, and studies suggested that males had lower chances of passing down the disease than females. Hence, I thought that my dad would never need to deal with Alzheimer’s. But he was not too lucky.

Meanwhile, when Dad heard his diagnosis, he wanted to know the first thing: “Will it kill me?” When the doctor replied that it could not technically cause death, my optimistic father cheered up and assured us that we had nothing to worry about.

I wanted to protest and tell my dad to take his condition more seriously, but I stopped myself before the actual words came out of my mouth. He was brave, even though he knew that Alzheimer’s was incurable. How insensitive could I be to keep on reminding my father of that?

I tried to make Dad’s Alzheimer’s less painful to accept by:

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Trying To Remember The Good Old Days

When my sister drove us back home from the doctor’s office, I was still feeling sad. However, once we entered my father’s home and saw old family pictures framed and covering an entire wall, my mood changed. We all revisited each photo and talked about what we were doing in them. It took a good hour or so before we reached the other end of the wall because there were too many stories that every image brought back.

That’s when I started seeing the possibility of handling Dad’s Alzheimer’s well. Our family made decades’ worth of memories, and a single disease could not erase them all at once. If my father’s condition progressed, and he seemed to forget more things, we could show him those pictures and help him remember the olden days. The idea of being able to do that made me feel better.

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Accepting That It Can Happen To Anyone

In reality, my dad is not the only person who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Similarly, my sister and I are not the only daughters who have no choice but to watch their beloved parents deal with such an unforgiving illness. The acceptance did not happen overnight, but the more I considered that fact, the less I felt anxious.

Final Thoughts

Life is already short, and having Alzheimer’s makes it even shorter. My father has been dealing with the disease for a year now, and his condition has not improved much. Our family tries to slow down its progression by encouraging Dad to take on new hobbies that may sharpen his memory. We can only hope that our efforts will suffice to help him know us longer than expected, but if that’s impossible, we try to make the most of his remembering days.

 

 

Why Newly Diagnosed Patients And Caregivers Should Attend Alzheimer’s Conferences

The 2019 Alzheimer’s Conference was a blessing in disguise in our family. It happened in the same year when my grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you see. We never encountered anyone with this illness in the past, so my parents and I—Gramps’ caregivers—did not know what we could do for him.  

Attended the said conference turned out to be the best first step that we could ever take. Here’s why.

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You Can Get Information From The Experts

The primary reason is that specialists flock in such conferences. You will find doctors, scientists, and even life coaches there, sharing their diagnoses and discoveries regarding Alzheimer’s. Although we all know that there is genuinely no cure for such a progressive brain disorder, it is comforting to realize that these people are not staying idle. Speaking about the disease in a massive setting is helpful, especially for families with zero clues about it.

You Can Learn About Dealing With Different Symptoms

My grandfather’s Alzheimer’s was technically at its early stage when the conference took place. Most of his actions were normal, but sometimes he would have an episode and throw whatever’s in his hands at the moment. A spoon or fork or towel was okay, but we were afraid that it might happen while he’s holding a hefty object and hurt himself or us.

Luckily, the panelists covered these scenarios in their speeches. They even accepted questions from the audience about dealing with different symptoms of Alzheimer’s and answered everything in detail. It was very insightful.

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You Can Meet People With Similar Struggles

When we arrived at the events center, I saw that we were not the only caregivers in the crowd. My parents and I managed to sit and chat with a few of them and exchange stories. The more we talked, the more we understood that our struggles with Gramps were not too different from what others were experiencing.

Such information is not supposed to make us happy. However, it was fantastic to meet individuals who had been in our shoes. We even found various support groups that could help out in any way possible.

Final Thoughts

At the time of this writing, no one can organize or attend any conference yet. Most people rely on the internet to get their message across or teach life hacks to people. However, when the pandemic ends, you should get tickets for any Alzheimer’s conference near your area. 

Caring For The Vulnerable During The Outbreak

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As of today, we remain worried and devastated because of the continuous spread of the coronavirus across the world. Leaders and healthcare professionals remind us at all times that the way to thrive through this virus is not to get it in the first place. If, unfortunately, you were infected, the best way to reduce the spread is by protecting others from you. Stores and shops will be sacrificed, as there will be no ‘business as usual.’ Finally, everyone must do their share in practicing social distancing and proper hygiene.

Protecting Alzheimer’s Patients From The Pandemic

As we strive to safeguard each other, we must also pay extra attention to keeping our elderly, especially those with Alzheimer’s disease, healthy and safe. The infection per se does not result from dementia, but it increases the likelihood of them getting contaminated and for having more life-threatening conditions.

Cognitive Disabilities Increase The Risk Of Spread

Impairments in cognition hinder some parts of self-protection. Older people with Alzheimer’s disease may lack an understanding of the factors that cause the infection or may not be as careful as needed. This is why they are one of the targets for coronavirus. Proper handwashing will be difficult for them as well, as they are often forgetful and temperamental. Additionally, it’s hard to teach him social distancing guidelines since most of the elderly anticipate the younger ones to give them a hug and a kiss.

Woman with Headache

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Awareness of the signs of symptoms is another threat to be mindful of. An individual who has a diminished sense of self may not be able to see that a fever or cough is a possibility that she may be infected, or she may even forget to mention to you that she is not feeling very well. We need to be sure of our utmost care for the long-term elderly facilities where they are frequently interacting with other older people who are asymptomatic or symptomatic carriers. A frustrating fact about COVID-19 is that people who are already infected can spread the infection days before they show symptoms.

The Elderly Are More Susceptible To Severe Conditions

Once they are contaminated, the elderly with dementia are sadly susceptible to developing more severe conditions. Although most coronavirus contaminations are not life-threatening, no one has accurate details of the death cases related to the diseases. However, all of us are aware that older adults with conditions like diabetes, heart diseases, and other moderate to severe medical conditions are more at risk than the younger population. Moreover, as our age advances, our immune systems become less able to fight against infections.

Protecting Elderly People With Dementia

In relation to this, are there some things we can do to help protect our elders with Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease? First and foremost, we must help minimize their exposure to the virus.

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An individual with Alzheimer’s disease, at this time, must not be exposed to unnecessary gatherings, visitors, and specifically to public transportation even if they have not been showing symptoms. Most of them are taken care of in their own homes by their family and significant others. Their caregivers should be extra cautious about their safety as well, so they too should practice proper handwashing, disinfecting areas that people often stay, and self-isolation if needed.

Today is a great time to check on your stocks of medication and purchase what’s lacking, list what you need to buy for two or three months and go to the supermarket to complete the list, and finally stay at home where you are safe, unexposed, and healthy. The younger generation is responsible for protecting and taking care of our vulnerable loved ones, such as those with Alzheimer’s disease. Our top priority for them and us should be preventing contamination.

 

 

Stimulating The Minds Of Alzheimer’s Patients

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Going to the 2017 Alzheimer’s Conference is one of the requirements that our hospital asks new employees. It was my first time attending one, so I had no expectations at all. Still, I thought that there would be presentations about Alzheimer’s prevention and care for the caregivers.

I was mildly surprised by the fact that the speakers talked about life after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. In truth, even though I had been in the medical field for a few years now, I had never thought about it. I was aware of the struggles that the patients faced, for sure. But I did not know about how they could manage the illness. Therefore, it amazed me to know that there were a few activities that could stimulate their brains and keep them from deteriorating too much too fast.

Put Household Items In Order
One of the most natural things that Alzheimer’s patients can do is organize their belongings at home. For instance, you can stock the boxes of soap in the bathroom, line up the perfumes in the cabinet, or organize clothes according to colors or seasons. Such tasks will not exhaust them mentally, but it will help them stay busy for a few hours every day. Thus, they may not think of going out without supervision.

Give Them Books
Any aging individual, whether diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or not, need to sharpen their memory. And what is a better way to do it than to give them books and other reading materials? Make sure that reading is a part of their daily routine and that they do it for at least an hour. That’s how you can ensure that the disease’s progression won’t speed up.

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Introduce Arts
It is never too late for anyone to be artistic or tap into their creative skills. There is no specific form of art that Alzheimer’s patients should try; they can pick whatever they want. E.g., painting, knitting, drawing, etc. What matters is that their brain keeps on working and that their output gives them a sense of accomplishment.

Final Thoughts
Alzheimer’s disease still has no cure at the time of writing this blog. However, the patients’ condition might change for the better if you continue encouraging them to use their cognitive skills.

How To Keep The Brain Healthy (Alzheimer’s Discussion)

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The brain is one of the most overused parts of the body. That is why it is essential to keep it safe and healthy. Because if it gets damaged, mental illnesses can crawl up to it. There is depression, anxiety, dementia, bipolar disorder, and Alzheimer’s, etc. So one should remember that what he does today impacts his chances of staying mentally sharp, independent, and healthy.

The process of developing cognitive reserve is akin to building extra highways in the brain, with the goal that if one highway is impacted by cellular abnormalities, the brain’s traffic (neural signals) can continue to flow. Michelle Braun Ph.D., ABPP-CN

Things To Note

The arteries which carry healthy blood to the brain tend to narrow down over time. It gets damaged and eventually leads to certain mental illnesses. But the good news is, there are some ways to manage the risk factors and keep those arteries strong and healthy. These methods are essential in maintaining long-term mental health.

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Manage Blood Pressure – When there is high blood pressure, the blood running through the arteries flows too much force and stretching them past the healthy limit. It causes microscopic tears, which forces the body to set itself into an injury-healing mode. But the good thing is, high blood pressure is manageable. Once an individual makes an effort to take care of it, the increased chance of living well gets high. Not only it allows a better functioning brain, but the possibility of getting heart disease and stroke is at a minimal level.

Maintain Low Cholesterol – Some cholesterol is essential in keeping good health. However, too much of it puts pressure in keeping the brain and body healthy. The bad cholesterol lodged into the arterial walls that feed the brain and heart with oxygen. When they get stuck there, they eventually form a plaque, which makes the arteries less flexible. Therefore, one must note that keeping low cholesterol is a must.

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In the 50 patients who showed pre-clinical signs of Alzheimer’s, all of them had disrupted sleep-wake cycles. That meant their bodies weren’t adhering to a reliable pattern of nighttime sleep and daytime activity. — Michael J Breus Ph.D.

Get Physically Active – No one is too busy to exercise. Spending time, even for a couple of minutes, can make a huge impact. If a person makes it a habit, there will be a realization of how much the brain and body needed exercise. It has nothing to do with leisure or spare time. It is about priorities in keeping the mental and physical health intact and functioning. One can benefit from simple tasks such as walking, dancing, gardening, and so on.

Eat A Healthy Diet – About a percentage of cholesterol and other health-damaging factors comes from the food one consumes. Therefore, to keep it low, a person must manage it accordingly. The person should pay attention to the food choices and challenge himself to make dietary changes. At least try to fill the plate with colorful vegetables and fruits, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, as well as lean meats.

Every day the body effortlessly and methodically cleans itself of all types of metabolic waste through various organs and systems: kidneys, liver, skin, intestines, and lymphatic. Multiple studies now indicate the brain has a unique drainage system to detoxify and cleanse itself. — Mylea Charvat, Ph.D.

Choose WellnessChoosing wellness takes a lot of effort. Once it becomes a goal, one will eventually appreciate small changes in life. These include quitting smoking, losing some extra pounds, staying away from stress, and getting enough sleep. Not only these changes strengthen the body, but it also supports the brain’s development which helps in fighting mental illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Always remember that keeping the mind healthy requires keeping the body healthy as well.

Alzheimer’s: How Is It Like To Have It?

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Alzheimer’s is something that will make you feel entirely afraid to have. That is because it connotes a sense of loss despite living. It is where you lose the ability to do things the way you used to. It affects your thoughts, emotional stability, as well as memory. It is a condition that gets no cure, and you will have to endure losing everything eventually.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, someone in the US develops Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, every 65 seconds. — Mylea Charvat, Ph.D.

The Life

Imagine waking up in a room where you do not know where you are. Then there would be a greeting from a seemingly familiar and friendly face. You have to get up and follow whatever instructions she gives because she is all the help you can get. She will help you in the bathroom and help you brush your teeth. She will help you fix your hair while she is smiling at you. After changing, you will experience a tour inside your house. You will be careful in touching things because you don’t realize it is your house despite your experience living and spending decades in it. You pay attention to whatever you want and can do, and often think about “what ifs.”

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For the entire day, you will survive it with complete supervision. You feel dependent. Because when someone is not around you, you won’t dare do anything. Not because you are afraid, but because you are unfamiliar and sometimes unable. You live with a caregiver, which can be someone you do not know or someone that is part of your life. There is always guidance and assistance everywhere. You can never complain about it. Sometimes, you even think of the whole setup as too much. But then again, you can’t do anything about it. Sometimes, you get to recognize one or two individuals who spend time with you. But in a split second, you will soon forget about everything that just happened at that particular moment. Then you will go back to asking questions you already asked a million times.

A new study has found that symptoms of depression and apathy are present in almost 50 percent of people who receive a new diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. — John Smith Ph.D.

There are times that you will feel confused because you seem not to know anything at some point. You get emotionally unstable because you think you can do things on your own, but eventually, end up being incapable. You get frustrated because you feel like you do not entirely need anyone to tell you what to do. People will not listen to you when you say you can handle things on your own, and you get frustrated with that even more.

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In addition to the damage, even if someone tells you how much they love you, you would not feel the connection. You will never get emotionally related to someone, even if that person tries her best to do everything for you. You will get empty and confused inside because, most of the time, someone in front of you is merely an individual that somehow means nothing. That is despite the fact that the person was once your whole life.

When my patients share with me their worry about their long-term cognitive health and their fears of Alzheimer’s, I understand. I’ll tell you what I tell them: the best thing you can do is to translate your worry into preventative action and take care of yourself today, with the goal of lowering your risk for cognitive decline and dementia in mind. — Michael J Breus Ph.D.

These scenarios may sound a bit sad and unfortunate, but that is the life of someone with Alzheimer’s disease.