Seek to Understand
“Understanding is a three-edged sword. Your side, my side, and the truth,” – J. Michael Straczynski. Here are some tips to help you understand the truth about what your mother or father with Alzheimer’s is going through and how you can help.
- Realize It’s Not Her Fault
Realize that your mother with Alzheimer’s has very little control over the changes her brain is going through. It’s not her fault. Her behaviors and even her personality may change. Confusion, depression, difficulty thinking clearly, frustration, anxiety, difficulty remembering information and paranoia are all common.
- Understand Your Limits
The truth is, if you don’t take care of yourself pretty, soon you won’t be able to take care of your mother with memory loss. Find ways to get the rest you need. Rest will soothe your irritability, and depression. Don’t be afraid to involve others and seek help.
- Be Patient
Be as patient and compassionate as possible. Your loved one is not the person they used to be, so give them a break. They don’t need any extra burdens, worries or stress. Alzheimer’s is difficult enough.
- Stay in School
If your loved one has Alzheimer’s, learn all you can about the various stages of the disease as well as the signs and symptoms of dementia. Understanding Alzheimer’s will strengthen the relationship you have with your family member. You can visit www.Alz.org, or contact the Alzheimer’s Association of Utah Chapter at 801-265-1944. Calling the 24/7 Caregiver Hotline for help 1-800-272-3900 is always a good idea as well.
- Lose Your Cool
Don’t tell your loved one, “ I just told you that.” No amount of “I told you so’s” will fix your mother’s memory loss. Be understanding, and just kindly repeat your instructions.
- Forget They Understand You
Don’t talk about your loved one in their presence as if they weren’t there. They understand a lot more than we give them credit for. Before you speak, think, “how would this make me feel if someone said this about me?”