Guest Columns

What not to do with someone who has Alzheimer's

Zyana Morris
Zyana Morris

For family members of those with Alzheimer's, there are a few mistakes I have seen people making that can be avoided with education.

Never refuse to accept

Medically speaking, it's a lot easier to be in denial when people are completely unaware of the signs and symptoms of chronic and degenerative medical conditions. Many people who experience breathlessness and begin to sweat profusely after mild exertion often refuse to consider the possibility that something may be wrong with their heart, until something terribly serious happens with them.

With Alzheimer's, we must work on acceptance. We should not ask "Do you remember?" Long-term care professionals can even make this mistake. 

There's no point in even trying to jog their memory to recall things from the past. What can be helpful, and encouraged, is to frame a story, such as, “I remember, the first time we met was when you were in college working overtime at the pub to make extra money…” 

Never get into an argument

It is difficult to win an argument or a discussion against someone who's suffering from dementia; they believe that they are right and will stay adamant. This comes up with discussion about activities of daily living. Find a way to work together.

Transitioning into a nursing home

We need to do more education on when it's time to move an Alzheimer's patient into a nursing home. It's important to remind caregivers of the importance of their own quality of life, especially if the spouse is aging.

Still, it's important to remind people to visit. Even if the Alzheimer's resident doesn't remember a person, just the thought of being visited by someone makes them feel better as they tend to thrive on social stimulation. So, even when things are almost close to the end and you're really busy, take out some time and drop by to say a quick hello.

Zyana Morris is a passionate health and lifestyle blogger who loves to write on trending topics. She is a nursing student and a social media activist. Follow her on @Zyanamorris.

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