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Alzheimer’s may strike you or your family member any time and will definitely wreak havoc in your life. Here are a few FAQs to help you deal with a family member with Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is a kind of dementia that causes memory loss and an inability to perform daily life activities. The symptoms occur slowly in a person and worsen over time.
To get an Alzheimer’s diagnosis within the family can be an overwhelming thing. Plus to see the disease slowly progress and deteriorate a family member or friend can be difficult.
However, it is very important to remember certain points while communicating with an Alzheimer’s patient. The following FAQs and their answers from the experts will give you a better picture as to how to go about it:
Q. When an Alzheimer’s patient is wrong, do you correct them or do you continue to live in their reality?
A. Let’s take an example. Say your grandfather does not know how to cook, but he says that he can’t remember where he has kept his personally written cookbook. What do you do then?
What do experts say?
Don’t correct them. Go with their version of reality, that gives them comfort and happiness. Correcting them and trying to introduce them to the truth might leave them feeling embarrassed and irritated.
Q. What to do in a situation where an Alzheimer’s patient cannot remember someone very close to him or her? Like a family member?
A. As this disease slowly removes the memories from the patient’s brain, there might be a stage when the person might also forget you. What to do then?
What do the experts say?
The first thing is to re-introduce yourself. That might help them remember you.
However, there is a chance they might not remember you at all. Do not feel disheartened. Just be patient.
Q. Is it alright to speak about the Alzheimer’s patient to someone, while the patient himself or herself is right in that room with you as well as other?
A. One should always treat each and everyone with some mental illness with utter dignity and respect.
It is highly discouraged to do so. Avoid talking down to them or as if he or she isn’t present there in the room. Never ever do it and try every possible way to avoid such discussions in front of them.
In conclusion, visiting can be a frustrating affair for both the patient as well as you. You should never stop visiting your loved ones.
Communication with a person with Alzheimer’s needs a lot of patience, good listening skills and the utmost level of understanding.
The above question-answers can help you and the patient with Alzheimer’s to understand each other better.
Picture credits: Unsplash
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Pursuing Diploma in Community Mental Health, NIMHANS
Former Forensic Psychologist Intern.
Former content writer.
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