Reducing Frustration For A Loved One With Alzheimer’s

In the United States, someone develops Alzheimer's every 67 seconds. There are more than 6 million people around the country living with the disease. Few diseases cause as much frustration and confusion as Alzheimer's, for both the patient and the patient's family. It can be very difficult to be supportive of your loved one when he or she is going through such a difficult time, but these tips can help you jog your loved one's memory and combat his or her frustration.

Use Nametags

It can be embarrassing and frustrating for Alzheimer's patients to constantly forget the names of the people around them. Using nametags with your name and your relationship to the patient (for example, "Suzie Smith: Daughter") can help to jog his or her memory.

Create a Scrapbook of Memories

Something that seems normal for most people, such as a scrapbook or photo album, can be very therapeutic for a patient with Alzheimer's. A scrapbook can help your loved one look back fondly on his or her life. Try to include pictures of the patient (both recently and in the past), friends and family, and other familiar people and objects. Make sure that the pictures are large enough for your loved one to see and include helpful labels.

Use Brief Statements

When giving instructions or explanations to your loved one, try to be as concise as possible. Long statements can be overwhelming and confusing for someone with Alzheimer's. By breaking up your speech into shorter statements, it will be easier for your loved one to understand.

Give as Much Independence as Possible

People with Alzheimer's do not lose their desire to be independent adults. While it might be tempting to baby your loved one, you should strive to give him or her as much independence as you can. For example, let your loved one dress him or herself or wash the dishes alone. Just make sure that you are there to step in if he or she ends up getting confused.  

Do Not Quiz Your Loved One

While you might want to know how far your loved one's memory has gone, it can be very frustrating for you to ask a lot of questions that he or she does not know the answer to. Instead of pointing to pictures and asking if your loved one remembers them, explain who it is and see if he or she responds. The same goes for memories; instead of asking if he or she remembers a specific event, reminisce on it and allow your loved one to simply listen and respond if he or she wants.

Do Not Feel the Need to Correct Your Loved One

It can be a little uncomfortable when your loved one starts talking about a different time or place as if he or she is there, but it is often better to entertain the idea than to correct your loved one. If you correct him or her, it can lead to confusion and frustration that can last even after the delusion is forgotten. If you just go along with it, the delusion will soon be forgotten anyway, but your loved one will not have that lingering frustration.

Alzheimer's and dementia are harder to deal with in a friend or family member than almost any other disease. Watching your parent or sibling forget who you are is heartbreaking. However, it is important to stay strong and committed to helping your loved one stay happy and healthy. While there might not be a cure for Alzheimer's, you can at least help the time your loved one has left to be full of as little stress as possible. 

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