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Three Ways You Can Help A Parent With Alzheimers

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One of the toughest things to witness is a parent with Alzheimer's disease. Because this disease just attacks the mind, it can cause them to waste away from the inside even if there aren't noticeable physical signs. Indeed, many Alzheimer's patients can live for decades after they've been diagnosed. While it is a significant challenge to help your parents through this disease, here are three ways that you can make their day-to-day experience more pleasant, even if they can't remember it long-term.

Surround them with familiarity

One of the biggest challenges that Alzheimer's patients face is when they run into something they haven't experienced before. Because their mind is being taken from them, it can get hard to give them familiar experiences. Even if they don't remember some of their surroundings, put pictures of them with family and friends in their room. Use blankets and other trinkets that they have kept. If there is something that is particularly memorable to them, make sure it is visible. 

Over time, you will likely need to put them in a specialized care facility to make sure that they aren't a danger to themselves or to others. When this time comes, transfer these familiar things to their new room. They will likely become agitated at first in their new surroundings, so it is important to keep them as comfortable as possible.

Talk with them

Even when your parent can no longer remember conversations you have had, talk with them and treat them like an adult. They recognize that they're in an adult's body and they get extremely frustrated with themselves because they can't remember things. Work with them to recognize their limitations. These conversations will take place constantly as you have to be their memory. While they will never remember what you said, they will recognize the calming and healing presence that you have around them.

If your parent starts talking about things that aren't happening now (and retreats into the past) just go along with them. Don't try to "fix" their memories because it will be frustrating for you both. Just listen and take the journey with them. They will appreciate you listening to them.

Be with them

They may not want to talk at times and retreat into themselves. At these times, it is important to just allow them to be. Help them by just sitting with them and being present with them. Mirror their mood. While you don't want to get angry if they get angry, do show empathy for what they are going through. These experiences will help you to recognize the person your parent used to be, even if they can't remember that themselves. Write down experiences that you have had with them and keep this journal in their room so they can refer back to it when they desire.

As you do these things, you will be able to be at peace with what is happening. Additionally, you will find that you can still create some amazing memories with your parents. For more tips about making the most of this difficult time, contact a company like Catawba County Home Health Agency.