Nobody wants to talk with their parent or loved one about the possibility of Alzheimer’s. It’s a tough subject that can easily overwhelm both you and the inflicted adult. If the parent or loved one already has impaired judgment and memory loss, a cohesive conversation probably won’t even be possible. Still, there are loving ways to approach this tough talk with compassion.
Numerous medical issues can temporarily mimic Alzheimer’s. Your older loved one might be more inclined to go to the doctor if you remind him or her of this possibility. After you have an agreement, plan an appointment with the doctor as part of a fun day that includes other enjoyable activities so the day is better for both of you.
Once the diagnosis is confirmed, depending on the relationship with your loved one, you might be able to have an open conversation. If he or she has already suspected that something isn’t right, the dialogue may go more easily. Reassure your older adult that you will continue to care for them during this tough time. Families that incorporate open discussion about the diagnosis and disease as it progresses are better off emotionally.
Be consistent in reassuring your parent or loved one that you will be there so you can ease any fears they may have of abandonment. Here are more suggestions:
Depending on the patient’s current state, perhaps he or she can still participate in financial, medical, legal, long-term care, and end-of-life decisions.
The patient might deny his or her diagnosis, and it’s also possible this diagnosis will not be fully understood.
Ask for additional help from family members or friends, or maybe a social worker or clergy member who is familiar with Alzheimer’s.
Continue to keep communication as open as possible while the disease progresses.
Allow the newly-diagnosed parent or loved one to articulate anger, frustration, sadness and disappointment, which would all be normal emotions.
Always be vigilant for signs of clinical depression.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease you do not have to be the only one to care for them. We know it can be tough, but our Alzheimer’s care is available to you and your loved one to provide the attention they need at home. If you would like to talk to one of our home care professionals contact us today!
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