15 May What it is like to Have a Parent with Alzheimer’s Disorder
My Parent has Alzheimer’s Disorder
The early signs of Alzheimer’s Disorder
It can be confusing in the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disorder for the person suffering AD, and for family members. Forgetfulness can be explained away by the aging process, or hidden.
With AD, in time, the sufferer’s personality begins to change and they may lose interest in hobbies that used to absorb them, and isolate themselves, no longer visiting friends or family.
As the illness develops these personality changes can manifest with anger or aggression, or with a childlike dependency.
The challenges that caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s Disorder brings.
It can be difficult to watch a parent, one who raised and supported you, begin to change, and lose memories that tie you together.
In the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disorder there can be arguments as parent and child change, memories are lost, and the relationship changes, during which both sides can be frightened, angry or in denial.
The parent finds letting their children care for them very difficult, and the child finds taking on the responsibility of caring for their parent difficult.
Dealing with the anger and fear that comes hand in hand with Alzheimer’s Disorder takes patience.
Ways in which you can comfort and communicate with your parent.
Playing music from your parent’s youth, which often they remember very vividly, has been shown to comfort people with Alzheimer’s Disorder.
Another comfort is affection; they may not remember who you are, but to hold hands or cuddle is extremely comforting.
If your parent has Alzheimer’s Disorder it helps to avoid blaming them for their mistakes, and arguing with them, as their understanding of their world has changed.
Another source of comfort is the parent to spending time with pets. Dogs and cats, rabbits and chicks and ducklings are all regularly allowed to visit Alzheimer’s patients in care homes.
Should I consider paid carers for my parent with Alzheimer’s?
There are many options for bringing carers in to help care for someone who has Alzheimer’s Disorder. From occasional support to a regular nurse who visits daily, overnight carers who assist through the night to live in carers who are there 24/7 to care for the parent, through to care homes where the parent is resident.
A good support system of carers and residential care will mean that the patient is safe and cared for, and their child can manage their affairs. Though making the decision to bring in extra support and paid for care can be difficult, and may mean you feel guilty, the benefits to both you and your parent are huge.