June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. 5.4 million Americans will face Alzheimer’s and efforts to find a cure are making very slow progress. But since we focus on actionable feedback on this blog, we’d like to take a moment to talk about our own experiences with it and some recommendations.
One of our staff members relayed a story about his grandfather, who has been experiencing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s for four years now. He said that one of the more under-discussed issues that come along with Alzheimer’s are how it affects the primary caregivers. When you have a couple who has been together for over 60 years, the dynamic doesn’t want to change. But it does.
Everything becomes something to be remembered on behalf of the individual with Alzheimer’s and all the pressure to keep the household running falls on their partner. That’s a hard thing to comprehend, particularly when they’re so good at it you don’t realize it’s happening until years later.
Alzheimer’s is a slowly developing situation and can often be masked by things as simple as a cheerful personality. So what are some actionable items that individuals who are being faced with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis and their support systems can do?
- Even before Alzheimer’s might come into the picture, come to an agreement about various lifestyle changes that you can anticipate.
- Have a shared agreement on various major decisions that may come into play, such as caregiving, location, strategies to combat some of the pressures, and resource-sharing.
- Stay healthy! Avoid tobacco and excess alcohol and exercise both the body and the mind.
Once it comes around, though, if you have a family member with Alzheimer’s, one of the best things you can do is continue to visit and stay involved. Just because things are forgotten doesn’t mean the person has to be forgotten.