Simply speaking, when nerve cells in the brain fail to communicate with each other, the person suffers from memory-loss and Alzheimer’s is caused. A variation of Dementia, Alzheimer’s has a high occurrence rate among the elderly. Although it is terminal, treatment measures exist. The first and most important attribute the caring family member of a person living with Alzheimer’s must possess is that of patience because it is famous for causing behavioral changes- due to medicines, pain etc.
If you give the patient a particular routine, they complete one task and look forward to their next task. They enjoy doing these simple little tasks because it gives them a sense of purpose, a sense of accomplishment which in turn has a positive effect on their memory.
Communication is one of the many challenges that a caregiver and Alzheimer’s patient both face. Alzheimer’s patients, by and large, have a disoriented way of communicating. The patient jumps off his conversation train while talking and forgets his last line. He looks around himself in a perplexed fashion as if he has been transported into another location. If you are smart enough, you will realize that his behavior follows a trend and with certain time, you will easily be able to gauge his needs.
A caretaker is, therefore, instructed to make place for the likes and whims of an Alzheimer’s patient. The caretaker alters the patient’s environment to suit his/ her preferences. It offers them comfort which is in turn, instrumental in improving their mental health. When the caretaker adapts oneself to patient’s needs; it helps give them an impression of being looked after and being listened to.
It is often said that a person living with Alzheimer’s is completing an unfinished task, albeit in a much later time zone. Being responsive and affectionate and involved with them offers them a secure atmosphere, which is conducive to their optimum natural wellbeing. This brings us to a therapy which deals mostly with behavioral understanding.
A helping method called Validation Therapy ensures better communication with those dealing with Alzheimer’s. In this method, the family member or caregiver empathizes with the patient to give validation to his/ her world. The person suffering from Alzheimer’s forgets his frustration, is relieved and expresses himself/herself better. It helps calm the patient when he is having hallucinations or delusions. When you react with compassion to the person living with Alzheimer’s, their frustration subsides, and they respond calmly.
Reminiscence Therapy is another method commonly used at geriatric healthcare facilities. It involves recollecting of the patient’s life events. This form of psychotherapy helps retain and improve mental wellbeing. Music, photographs or other items may be used to aid the patient in recalling his/her past. This exercise is conducted either in groups or in pairs or individually.
Dietary changes have been said to have improved mental health. Proper medication and regular counseling sessions are helpful too. Regular interaction with medical experts at health care centers must be maintained to monitor the disease. Compassionate care is a fundamental tool to improving the life of an Alzheimer’s patient.
Last but not the least; you must keep in touch with a local support group. It revitalizes not only your loved one, but also you.