Community Blog

What to do about Alzheimer’s?

By Alan Lust

 

 The diagnosis of Alzheimer's is devastating news leaving people unsure of what to do. When confronted with this finding it is important that you understand that    Alzheimer’s is a disease where things go missing, memories, and abilities and finally the personality of the one with the disease.  There are things that individuals and family can do to ready themselves to cope. 

About 11% of the adult population over 65 has Alzheimer’s.  This places a heavy burden on families in terms of time, money and emotions.  It is still unclear as to what causes the disease so it is unclear as to what you can do to prevent it, though there are a legions who claim they have a way.

When confronted by the disease, there are things you can do.  These will not change the outcome of the disease, but can ease the struggles families face. 

  • Prepare yourself to understand.  The brains of people with Alzheimer’s don’t work correctly.  Scientist are unsure of what causes the disease but the leading suspects are plaques and tangles.  The brain works on the basis of electrical and chemical reactions.  If you think of the brain as an electronic device plaques and tangles are the equivalent of someone cutting wires inside the device and lowering the voltage needed to run it.

  • Prepare yourself to seek help.  You will have to learn how to ask for help because the pressure of caring for a loved one with this disease will require more than you can give on your own.

  • Prepare yourself legally.  You should insure that you have a current will, a durable health power of attorney and advanced directives. 

  • Prepare yourself financially.  Gather information about bank accounts, titles to cars, deeds to all property and get a durable financial power-of-attorney.

  • Prepare yourself emotionally.  This disease is going to gradually steal your loved one from you.  They will change and gradually slip into silence.  You will experience heart break and frustration and loving the person will be a real challenge.

  • Prepare yourself personally.  You will need to learn how to give yourself some me time.  Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s is 24 – 7 lifestyle.  No one is capable of meeting that challenge alone.  Learn to take time for yourself.

This is not a complete list but I hope this will give you a starting point when faced with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.