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.

Improving Communication With Someone With Alzheimer’s

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Alzheimer’s disease is a condition where it gradually diminishes someone’s ability to communicate. Sometimes, it gets associated with the difficulty of expressing emotions and thoughts as well as understanding others. The condition sets out unpredictable problems not only for the patient but to the loved ones as well. Since everything about it revolves in proper handling, assisting, and communicating better, it is essential to understand one’s obligation in keeping the connection intact.

Today, 5.7 million Americans live with this disease. By 2050, that number is predicted to reach 14 million. — Mylea Charvat, Ph.D.

Things To Remember

When it comes to communicating with someone with Alzheimer’s disease, one must practice delivering words in a kind voice. One can do this by speaking slowly and clearly with a lower tone. The caregiver can also accompany the calm voice with a smile so that the patient will feel more comfortable and relaxed when talking.

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In terms of getting the patient’s attention, it is essential to address the person by name. It will automatically create a comfortable feeling that allows the built-up of trust and wiliness to cooperate. Aside from that, it is essential to remember that approaching the patient in front is necessary to avoid sudden surprises that might irritate or agitate the individual with Alzheimer’s.

One thing a person is responsible for doing is allowing the patient to feel whatever he or she wants to feel. There are instances that the patient will not immediately recognize people, even if these are the ones he or she loved the most. Therefore, one must introduce himself so that the patient can have an idea of who he or she is talking to.

Many people have had the cellular abnormalities associated with Alzheimer’s, but have not shown symptoms of the disease. Michelle Braun Ph.D., ABPP-CN

It is common for most people to forget that their loved one is with mental illness. However, that is not enough reason to pressure the patient to respond to the condition accordingly. Therefore, when talking or trying to ask a question, a person must consider doing it one at a time. It is vital to use simple and short phrases so the patient can quickly catch up. Avoid logic and reason, as well as quizzes, mainly asking if the patient remembers anything about something.

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Communicating with an individual with Alzheimer’s disease requires a lot of compromises. One should consider being careful about asking too many questions. Also, one should not interrupt, criticize, argue, or correct the patient. It is essential to let the patient know that his or her caregiver is listening and trying to understand. A person must keep good eye contact, polite manner, and proper gesture to ensure a comfortable situation for both individuals.

With age, it’s common for people to develop some of these buildups in the brain. But people with Alzheimer’s develop plaques and tangles in significantly greater amounts—especially in areas of the brain related to memory and other complex cognitive functions. — Michael J Breus Ph.D.

When dealing with a person with Alzheimer’s, it is essential not to take negative communication personally. The person with the condition sometimes cannot control their emotions. That is why the caregiver must manage to create the necessary adjustment. Do not take the patient’s harsh words literally and always consider understanding.

Caring for someone with the disease is not easy because it requires a lot of patience and understanding. So instead of complaining about the situation, the caregiver must improve communication to understand the patient’s needs better.

Guidelines In Caring For Someone With Alzheimer’s

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In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, a person may be able to function well and live on their own. However, as the condition eventually progresses, the help they need potentially increases as well. With that, the kind of caring becomes different from the way mental health starts until it ends. Fortunately, there are specific guidelines that can help in maintaining a better relationship for the people with the disease and to their caregivers.

What You Need To Know

Many adults with Alzheimer’s disease that need care do not perceive that they need help. That is because these individuals believe that the whole idea of caring means surrendering their dependence on doing things on their own. Honestly, that is entirely normal to feel. A lot of adult patients with the condition become a little motivated despite their situation when their caregivers appear unfocused on assisting them 24/7. But still, it is not enough excuse not to aid their needs because the mental condition tends to get worse over time. And both patients and caregivers do not want something to happen, especially when they are not paying attention.

You can significantly lower your risk of the most common form of Alzheimer’s by engaging in certain behaviors. Michelle Braun Ph.D., ABPP-CN

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Guidelines To Follow

Reduce Frustrations – Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease often get agitated most of the time. That is due to the struggle these people face, especially in handling their limitations. Not all of them understand or at least are open about the restrictions they need to follow. With that, these people become more in rage not only with their condition but to the caregivers as well. The best way to assist them is by planning a routine where their choices of the task are limited. The patients must also avoid distractions to diminish their frustration of not getting or doing what they want.

Be Flexible – The problem with people with Alzheimer’s is that they cannot accept they need care. With that, they also cannot identify the kind of care they need. With that instance, personal care becomes worse for both patients and caregivers. Hygiene becomes a crucial part because most patients because they do not feel they need assistance on that particular process. To assist that, caregivers must learn to compromise and not force patients to work on things regularly.

Several studies have found that diets high in fruits and vegetables and fish, including what is commonly referred to as a Mediterranean diet, are associated with reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s, a slower rate of cognitive decline in the elderly, and decreased mortality in those who already have Alzheimer’s. — Traci Stein, PhD, MPH

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Create A Safe Environment – Individuals with Alzheimer’s are often careless. Since they tend to forget a lot of things, they become prone to accidents and damages. SO to properly allow them to function inside the comfort of their home, caregivers must prioritize creating a safe environment for them. These may include installing locks on cabinets and doors, keeping matches out of reach, and other stuff that may cause harm and damage.

People with Alzheimer’s often suffer with depression and apathy and research has shown that people with mild cognitive impairment and apathy are at an increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s. — John Smith Ph.D.

Seek For Additional Support – Some patients with the condition are stubborn and sometimes unpredictable. That is why it causes massive stress when it comes to disagreement and misunderstanding between patients and caregivers. With that, caregivers often get burned-out. The way to handle the stress of assisting someone with Alzheimer’s is to also seek out for help.

Caring for someone with a mental condition can cause a lot of stress. But by following these basic guidelines, things can get through.

How To Combine Alzheimer’s And Employment As Recommended By Psychologists

According to psychologists, one of the foremost problems of Alzheimer’s patients concerns their work. The afflicted person worries about how he or she should continue his or her career while battling a progressive brain disorder. Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s can bring about tumultuous changes to the patient’s life, including his or her employment status.

Given that there are multiple nongenetic risk factors for late-onset Alzheimer’s — including age, sex (females are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s), vascular health, and several lifestyle factors — many researchers have likened Alzheimer’s to other diseases that have multiple causes, and are thus unlikely to have a single cure, such as heart disease. Michelle Braun Ph.D., ABPP-CN

There might be endless questions running in your mind if you are in this situation – from whether you can continue to work for your employer to what kind of adjustments should you and your employer apply to make this work. Below is some advice on how to go about with work even if you have Alzheimer’s.

Am I Allowed To Keep My Job?

Yes, you are allowed to keep your job. It is not necessary to quit even if you are still in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. If you feel that going to work can contribute to the betterment of your emotional and physical wellbeing, then continue with your role.

The law supports your rights. There are different kinds of statutes around the world which protect those diagnosed with this. Some examples include the Disability Discrimination Act in Northern Ireland, The Equality Act of 2010 in Wales, Scotland, and England, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the United States.

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These laws almost say the same thing – that employers need to acknowledge reasonable workplace adjustments to those people with disorders so that it will be more relaxed and more comfortable for them to do their jobs. These adjustments can be in the form of moving them to a quieter working area and giving them the option to work at home on some days.

At the same time, the laws above also say that employers must not fire a person if their violations are because of their disorder. However, employers can fire their employees if they were not able to produce expected output after implementing the adjustments.

Lastly, the laws also protect you from any discrimination if you are still looking for a job — no need to be worried about not getting hired because of your disorder.

Informing Your Employer

Some people might find it tempting to keep the diagnosis to themselves. However, the best way to approach this is to be proactive with your employer. Do not wait until your job performance suffers, which might lead to some disciplinary cases against you. The tendency is that you will not be protected by the laws above due to the failure to disclose this to your employer.

“There is no point in keeping it a secret; otherwise, colleagues will only make up their own stories of why you’re struggling and may be less supportive. Once people understand why something is happening, you’ll be surprised how supportive and helpful those around you can be, just like my wonderful team,” shares Wendy Mitchell, a 58-year old employee diagnosed with young-onset Alzheimer’s.

Scientists think there are several types of protein deposits that cause the degradation of brain cells, leading to the progressively more serious problems with memory, learning, mood, and behavior– the hallmark symptoms of Alzheimer’s. — Michael J Breus Ph.D.

Source: pxhere.com

Remember, you should also be open when it comes to approaching your employer. Not everyone has direct experience with employees having Alzheimer’s. Hence, make sure that you explain what Alzheimer’s is in general, what your current situation is and how it is affecting you, and possible areas in which the company can help.

Managing Your Role

Once you have stated your case to your employer, they will most likely ask what kinds of adjustments you will be needing. There are no specific actions for this. It will depend on your situation. Some of the modifications these individuals make include the following:

  • Asking for a flexible working schedule (hence, the workload is more output-based)
  • Transferring to a less demanding role
  • Requesting to change working environments by transferring to a more silent room or area
  • Simplifying the daily schedule

Source: flickr.com

Alzheimer’s is a frightening and challenging disease, and the news that lifestyle factors play a significant role offers hope to reduce human suffering. — Mylea Charvat, Ph.D. 

It is critical for you to know which kinds of situations you are more comfortable with. Do not request something that you are not yet sure of so that it won’t put too much hassle on the side of your employers.

If you are not yet confident with regards to the knowledge of your case, it is best if you keep on educating yourself. There are various resources out there, which will not only tackle the ins and outs of your disorder but will also give you advice on how you can combine Alzheimer’s with your employment.