Despite significant advances in recent times, scientists are still not close to a cure for Alzheimer's disease, a terrible and progressive illness that is affecting elderly Australians with devastating effect. This form of dementia can appear at quite an early age, but normally affects people as they enter their 70s and 80s.
If you have a parent who has this affliction, then you will, unfortunately, face some significant challenges as you make sure they are cared for and may need to reach out to others. How can you make plans to ensure that your loved one lives as comfortable a life as possible?
A Developing Disease
In the early days, the symptoms of this disease may not be too onerous but are nevertheless identifiable. The person concerned will become very forgetful and may walk into a room to fetch something while forgetting what they were going to do. They may turn on the stove in order to cook something but forget that the gas is still lit. It's strange, but they may be able to remember information from decades ago very clearly while forgetting something that happened yesterday.
Inconsistency can be a big challenge in this situation, as you never know what to expect. Consequently, it can be difficult to set up a home care plan, especially if you are busy individuals yourselves and have your own lives to live.
Help with Everyday Things
It's good to know that there are organisations available who can come to your support and can bring experience in this type of situation. They will be able to help with everyday tasks and also work with the patient to help them avoid memory decline as much as possible.
For example, they can work to create a scrapbook or a memory box with sentimental items or photographs that can stimulate the area of the brain that relies on memory. They can also help them to remember current day tasks, especially when it comes to taking medication. Of particular importance, they can prompt your loved one to eat and drink according to a regular schedule and help them to look after their personal care on a daily basis.
Dealing with Confusion
Remember, people who are affected by Alzheimer's are confused about their whereabouts and don't know what they are expected to do. It is important to have a recognisable, happy and friendly face close by to give them support and to put their mind at ease.
This can be a difficult situation to deal with by yourselves and without some professional support. Have a word with your local disability care providers so that you can face this challenge together.