According to the Alzheimer’s Association, most people who age do not get Alzheimer’s; however, it does occur in about 1 in 9 people (11 percent) who are age 65 and older. Alzheimer’s doubles the risk of premature death in people age 70 and older. —
Whenever a family member is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, loved ones are usually affected mentally and emotionally. While the patient is dealing with the symptoms of the disease, family members also deal with the sadness of witnessing the difficulties and challenges brought about by Alzheimer’s. Here are some of the coping strategies which can help the whole family deal with this event more manageable.
Have Time For Yourself
While some people have the notion that they are in charge of being a caretaker for those with Alzheimer’s, it is still essential to make sure that they take care of themselves as well. It might be a little difficult depending on the stage of the disease. Some people who are on the most critical stages may need 24-hour care. Hence, to be able to fulfill this, asking help from co-family members and friends might be the best option. Others even pay for short-term services from professional caregivers to aid them.
Just a few hours of relaxing, fun, and de-stressing activities may be helpful to ease the emotional burden brought about by the situation.
Involve The Whole Family
It is crucial for the whole family to be involved with the care plan of the patient. This involvement can include dividing the responsibilities left by the person with Alzheimer’s, having time slots for caregiving tasks, or even just providing one-on-one hangout sessions with the patient. This coping strategy may be helpful to avoid additional stress from all the work experienced from the moment a person gets sick.
Have Regular Family Meetings
Having a support group in these trying times is important. The closest group of people which can be part of this is the family. By having meetings regularly, the whole family can address current concerns at a particular time. It can also be an avenue for people to voice out their problems and ask for support from other members. Lastly, this can also be a safe space to resolve disagreements.
Family meetings can be done in person or through online meetings or conference calls. However, it is important to have an agenda in mind before the meeting starts. This way, it is easier to go about with the meeting. The most important thing is to end these meetings with a clear understanding of the critical issues, and the solutions talked about.
But the most astonishing gift from those years was that I recovered my own past. I had never reflected much on my early life: I had forged a path straight through graduate school to a teaching job, which I combined with raising children, keeping house, and writing. — Jeanne Murray Walker Ph. D.
Reminisce About The Past
Looking back at the memory lane will evoke happiness from both the patient and family members. This activity also allows the family members to spend time with one another and help the patient improve his or her connection with other family members which may contribute to his or her recovery. Looking back on fond memories can be done through exchanging stories, watching past family videos, or looking at photographs.
Attend Counseling Sessions
Even if everything is going smoothly in the present, it is still important to ask for help from professional counselors. This can help family members avoid future conflicts and realize their current situation. Those who attend counseling sessions can also receive tips on how to emotionally cope with this challenge and overcome the stress they are feeling. This move can be a great help for everyone around that individual.
If you are stressed, angry, or confused, don’t hesitate to say it in the open. Talking about feelings and emotions openly, may it be through formal or informal conversations, can help minimize the emotional stress felt by someone. However, make sure to express these feelings without offending, shaming, or blaming other people. In return, one should listen to the feelings of other family members too.
Read the critiques. Wait until the evidence is in before you follow any recommendations– often, as happened with an experimental drug being developed by Lilly recently, clinical studies show few, no, or even ill effects. — Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D.
Facing a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is difficult, but following the coping strategies mentioned above will ensure successful management of this challenge.