Finding out a parent has Alzheimer’s can be worrying and confusing. Your parent may not know they have a problem — or if they do — they may not want to take any action. Some signs to watch out for include forgetfulness, confusion, the inability to think through challenges, trouble handling everyday tasks, and difficulty expressing themselves through writing or interpreting images. The condition starts gradually, and it might be harder to detect in the initial stages but involve your parent’s doctor for a comprehensive diagnosis. However, it would help if you took action right away to make your lives more manageable and your parent safe.
Modify Their Living Arrangement
If your parent live alone, get someone to assist and check on them. It’s risky having them in the house all alone. Being forgetful means that they can place something on the stove, forget about it, or even find it hard to prepare their meals. You need to make sure they are taking their medication, eating well, and are happy. They may not understand what’s happening to them, but with loving people around, life gets more manageable.
You have the option of you or another family member moving in with them, bringing them to live with you at your home, or arranging for assisted living. Assisted living ensures they have medical personnel and other aids to make their life safer and healthier. Although you will have to pay for the services, they will be assisted by professionals to take care of their everyday schedule. They can get assistance when they want to visit friends, go shopping, or eat out. They also get assisted with daily house chores, dressing, and bathing. Facilities such as La Posada offer quality living amenities that will give you peace of mind knowing that your parent is happy, well-taken care of, safe, and healthy.
If you choose to live with them or bring them to your home, you will still have to arrange for care services. You can agree with other family members to take turns taking care of your parent or hire an assistant. Your priority when your parent has Alzheimer’s is to improve their quality of life and slow down the degeneration. How do you do this?
Understand The Effects Of Their Condition
Alzheimer’s may change how you relate to your parent. If they were your pillar of strength, your friend and confidant, this might change with time. Be prepared for the eventuality. The good thing is, you can slow down the condition, and you may never have to experience the total impact of the disease but be prepared for the worst. A time may come when your parent may not remember you, recognize their surroundings or take care of themselves. It can be frustrating, worrying, and at the same time, a lonely period. You will miss spending time with your parent and sharing family joys. To be prepared, here are some suggestions.
• Talk To Your Parent’s Doctor
Being their primary caregiver, you may want to talk to their doctor to understand the condition and its effects on their life. If they have other health issues, get to know how having Alzheimer’s will affect them. People with the illness are unpredictable, and it’s essential to understand how to handle different situations.
• Talk To Your Parent About It
Your parent may still grasp what’s happening, and talking to them now may help their understand most things. Explain to them why you think moving out to a new place is better and safer. Also, reassure them of your love and commitment. While you can still share memories, get old family photos, talk about memorable family events and have the extended family spend more time with them. It will help if you build memories now to keep you going when they can’t remember you. If you’ve been postponing family events, such as taking a vacation together, this is the time to do it.
• Take Care Of Yourself
It’s confusing and hard dealing with a parent with Alzheimer’s. Acquire some coping mechanisms and equip yourself with enough resources about the condition. Let other family members know about the situation and don’t shoulder the entire burden alone. Ask for assistance taking care of them and offsetting some of the bills. As you will realize, you will also have to manage your parent’s life.
If your parent has a business, consider the options. Will you close it down or employ a manager? Also, learn how to manage their home, assets, and bills. You may want to involve the entire family when making some of the decisions. If your parent can still comprehend, ask them for advice and preferences. When you feel confused, angry, or lonely, take a break and focus on something you like, such as dining out or spending time with friends. To make the situation better, put yourself in their shoes.
What Happens In The Advanced Stage?
In the advanced stage, your parent will lose memory and disassociate from reality. They may not recognize you even when you live together, and taking care of them may be difficult. To make things easier, here are some things to consider.