Alzheimer's is a disease that slowly destroys a person's ability to think normally and rationally, and it can be hard to know how to act and what to say to your parent if he or she develops this disease. The best thing you can do is try to understand how this disease works and the effects it can have on a person. When you understand these things, it might be easier for you to know how to communicate with that person. Here are some tips to help you cope with this situation and know what to do and what not to do with your parent who is suffering from Alzheimer's.
Make Sure Your Parent Is Receiving The Proper Care
The first thing to understand is that Alzheimer's is a very serious disease that has no cure. The symptoms might be minor at first, but they will worsen with time. As your parent's disease begins worsening, it's important for you to consider choosing a nursing home for your parent, unless you plan on having him or her live with you. A person with this disease will not be able to care for him or herself forever, and it will not even be safe for your parent to stay living alone. At some point, full-time assistance will be needed, and it is better to begin looking for a place sooner rather than later.
If you plan on moving your parent in with you, you should realize that it will be a lot of work and may become a full-time job for you. This arrangement can work out well in some situations, but it is important to realize what you are taking on before you go through with it.
Avoid Arguing Or Becoming Defensive
One trait your parent will experience from Alzheimer's is confusion, but another trait involves fighting normal activities in life. Your parent might not want to do a certain thing at a certain time, and he or she may fight you on things like this. The worst thing to do is argue with your parent or become defensive. Acting like that will not convince your parent to do whatever it is they need to do. In fact, it might cause your parent to fight you more.
It is better to simply state what your parent needs to do and try to encourage him or her to do it. If your parent puts up too much of a fight, you may just need to try again later. The workers at nursing homes are trained and skilled with working with people who suffer from Alzheimer's, and this is one of the reasons it may be better to allow them to take care of your parent.
Don't Try To Correct Or Explain Everything
As your parent's disease worsens, you should understand that the things he or she says will not make sense. You may be inclined to try to correct your parent as this happens, but it really will not help. Let your parent talk and say the things he or she is thinking and just try to listen. As you talk to your parent, try to be very clear with what you say. Use names when talking about people and show pictures to help him or her remember.
Accept That Your Parent Will Not Recognize You
Finally, you will need to accept that there will probably come a day when your parent will not even know who you are. It's easy to take this personally, but you have to remember that it is the disease that has robbed your parent of his or her memory.
Watching a parent suffer from Alzheimer's is very difficult, and taking care of a parent like this is even harder. If your parent is demonstrating signs and symptoms of this disease, you may want to begin looking for a nursing home that specializes in patients with Alzheimer's.