How You Can Have the Talk With Your Loved One About Alzheimer’s Disease

Senior talking to his loved one about Alzheimer's disease

No one wants to have a conversation about Alzheimer’s with a parent or loved one. It can be tough and can feel overwhelming to both you and the inflicted adult. If the older 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.


Get the Doctor’s Diagnosis First

Other medical issues can mimic the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. The older patient might be more agreeable to go to the doctor if you remind him or her of this possibility. Then, make the appointment with the doctor or specialist part of a fun day that includes shopping or something else that’s enjoyable. The day will end better for both of you.


Once Alzheimer’s Gets Confirmed

Once Alzheimer’s gets confirmed, your communication plan might vary, depending on your relationship with your loved one. There’s a good likelihood that he or she has already been suspecting something isn’t right, and you might even be able to have an open dialogue. Make the older adult feel loved and cared for during this tough time. The diagnosis could create feelings of embarrassment, but families that keep the discussion open about the diagnosis are better off, as it usually creates less anxiety for the sufferer.


Consistently reassure your parent or loved one that you love them and will be there for them. Allay any fears of abandonment with the following suggestions:

  • Depending on the patient’s current circumstances, perhaps he or she can still participate in medical, legal, financial, long-term care, and end-of-life decisions.

  • Your loved one might choose to deny the diagnosis. It’s possible he or she will not fully comprehend this diagnosis, also.

  • Request help from trusted family members or friends, a social worker or clergy member who is familiar with Alzheimer’s.

  • As the disease symptoms progress, keep communication as open as possible.

  • Allow your parent or loved one to articulate anger, frustration, sadness and disappointment, all normal emotions.

  • Be vigilant for signs of clinical depression. Request medical help if needed.


We Are Here to Help

If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, you don’t have to take on a load of caregiving duties on alone. Comfort Keepers of Ottawa provide specialized Alzheimer’s care that can help your loved one at home and give you peace of mind when you are not there for them. If you would like to talk to one of our home care experts about our services, contact us today!

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