5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. And Alzheimer’s doesn’t just affect those who are afflicted with the disease; it touches everyone who knows and loves them.
Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s means your life will change in many ways. And it’s a terrifying diagnosis. But living with Alzheimer’s doesn’t have to mean life is over.
There are still ways to continue living and enjoying life. To help you and your loved ones cope with Alzheimer’s, keep reading. We’re sharing tips to help you manage and live with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Accept that You’re Living with Alzheimer’s
Unfortunately, you can’t change your diagnosis. But you can do things to make life easier for yourself.
However, that only happens once you accept that you need to change a few things in your life. Activities and things you did are now going to become increasingly more difficult.
Even maintaining a schedule or managing your money can become difficult. Many people feel embarrassed and try to hide their struggles from everyone. Others find it hard to ask for help with things that they could once do easily on their own.
However, by adopting effective coping strategies early on, it will help you manage the changes more easily. You’ll find that accepting and adapting will help you remain engaged and active for longer.
You’ll also respond more easily to new challenges while maintaining your independence as long as possible. You’ll feel like you’re more in control of your life at a time when you feel the most powerless.
Educate Yourself About Alzheimer’s
It’s hard to take the right proactive steps when you’re in the dark about what’s happening to your mind and body. It’s vitally important that you educate yourself as much as possible about this disease.
Get helpful advice from people who work with Alzheimer’s patients. Ask your doctor what to expect and what you can do to live as fully as possible.
Fear prevents us from making smart decisions and taking the right steps. Don’t let fear get in the way of educating yourself and finding as many coping methods as possible.
Keep a Routine
Most people are not big fans of change but for Alzheimer’s patients, change can be extremely challenging and terrifying. Most patients find it’s far easier for them to create a set schedule.
Staying in familiar surroundings also helps keep patients calm and relaxed. If changes are necessary, such as someone taking you to a doctor’s visit, have someone leave a reminder on your calendar, refrigerator, or somewhere else where it’s easy for you to see it.
Notes are incredibly helpful for Alzheimer’s patients. It’s not unusual to begin having a hard time understanding spoken words. Reading is often easier and having a constant reminder is easier for everyone so no one has to keep repeating themselves.
And notes that help you find your way around your home is also helpful. Even leaving notes around that say, “this way to the bathroom” can help you continue to feel comfortable in your own surroundings.
No one can go through this alone. It doesn’t matter how much you learn about Alzheimer’s, how much you prepare, or how strong you think you are.
Alzheimer’s is a difficult disease that leaves even the strongest, most self-sufficient people struggling. For those who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, the smartest thing someone can do for themselves and for the patient is to get help.
There are several solutions. Getting live-in help ensures you have someone helping you care for yourself around the clock. That allows the family members to rest, work, and take care of themselves.
You can also get part-time help with allows the patient to stay in their home as long as possible while giving the caregiver some much-needed time to themselves. Or, there are full-time Alzheimer’s assisted living communities.
Which direction you choose usually depends on what insurance will pay for and how much money you can allot towards your own health care.
Take Care of Your Health
Remaining as spiritually, emotionally, and physically healthy as you can is vitally important. It’s important to identify sources of stress and take steps to reduce them.
Making a list of your favorite coping skills and use them as often as needed. Make sure you get regular medical checkups and report any changes to your physician.
Take steps to improve your eating habits. Exercise regularly to keep your mind and body in good shape.
And make sure you rest whenever you need to.
Find Ways to Stay Busy and Engaged
While life will change for you, it doesn’t mean you need to give up on all your favorite hobbies. Yes, it’s better for you to stay away from situations that are loud or overwhelming, but you can still stay productive.
While you may need to take a new or different approach towards your favorite tasks and hobbies, it is possible to stay engaged.
If you love baking, you may still be able to stir the batter or place cookies on the sheet. It’s an activity you and your family can do together.
While starting a load of laundry may get too difficult because the settings are now too confusing, it may still be possible for you to take the items out of the dryer and fold them.
Taking up activities such as painting or woodwork can help stave off depression. And playing games is not only fun, but can also keep your brain engaged.
Set Realistic Goals
It’s important to set goals, but if someone can’t reach them because they’re unrealistic, they may get depressed and give up. Try approaching a goal one step at a time.
Do not give up. Keep trying. You don’t need to do everything perfectly every single time. This is a new process you’re learning and you’ll need time to adjust.
Give yourself a break. And make sure you surround yourself with a team of positive, loving people who can help you every step of the way.
Request a Tour
Sometimes living with Alzheimer’s means it’s safer to live at a memory care facility. Don’t wait until it’s too late to find the right place for you to live.
We can help. Our facilities take a customized approach to seniors living in a managed care facility. Click here to take a tour and see for yourself.