Living With Alzheimer’s: What You Need To Know
Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease can be incredibly overwhelming for you and your family. It is the most common form of dementia and leads to changes in memory, thinking and behaviour. There is no denying that you will need time to let the diagnosis sink in and prepare, not only emotionally, but also financially and practically for this disease.
Thankfully, there are ways that you can make life easier and more enjoyable for yourself as you live with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Therefore, Companions of London have put together some practical advice that will help you handle day-to-day challenges, maximize your independence and live a meaningful life with your diagnosis.
This can be one of the hardest things to do, but once you have accepted change then you can start to be realistic about what is going to happen and what you need to do next. Lots of people live in denial and may try to cover up their difficulties to protect themselves from embarrassment. Never feel this way, accepting what is happening and the changes you are facing will give you a sense of accomplishment in your abilities as you continue to live with the disease.
Create a coping strategy
Once you have accepted the change you can start to create new coping strategies, that will help you with day-to-day life. This doesn’t need to be complicated, it is all about being flexible, try different strategies to find what works best for you.
A way you can break this down is to identify the tasks that have become more challenging, prioritise these tasks and then strategise them. For example, if you are struggling to cook a meal and remember to water your plants then the cooking is more important, focus on this and ways that you can make this task easier, don’t worry about anything else until you have tackled this one task.
Develop a daily routine
You may find that developing a daily routine will help you as the disease gets worse. You don’t have to do the same thing every single day but pinpoint certain moments every day and try to keep what you do at these times similar.
You could, for example, always eat breakfast whilst you watch the morning news or prepare your lunch when your clock chimes at a particular time. Use everyday things to remind you of your routine and you will find that these are the things that stick with you when everything else can feel like it is falling apart.
Ensure your home is safe
Staying in your own home is so important for many people, having to move can be upsetting and the thought of losing your independence can be infuriating. To ensure that you can stay where you are for as long as possible now is the time to make changes around the home.
You can prevent any potential falls by removing any clutter or trip hazards and installing handrails or grab bars in critical areas, lowering your thermostat on your hot-water heater is also a good idea. Simply think about how you can reduce the chance of injury, the safer your home is, the longer you can stay there.
Recognise your triggers
Everyone has triggers that cause stress, worry and anxiety. These emotions, however, are heightened for people with Alzheimer’s so highlighting your triggers early can help you avoid these situations and unpleasant feelings.
Once you know what these triggers are, you can tell your family and friends too so that they can support you. For example, if being hurried or rushed when you need to leave the house is something that worries you then people can be aware that you need more time. Knowing what causes these negative emotions allows you to make plans in advance or decisions about the type of tasks that you participate in.
Accept help from others
This can be a challenge for anyone, especially people who may feel like they are being a burden. Lots of people with Alzheimer’s also worry that once they have accepted the help they will lose all of their independence but, this isn’t the case.
Accepting help, whether it is from family and friends or a dementia companion can make a huge impact on your life. While it may seem like a sign of weakness at first, asking for help when you need it will allow you to remain in control.
How Companions of London can help
Once you have moved through all of the steps above and if you find that you would like some help with particular daily tasks or challenges then Companions of London is the company you need. They specialise in Alzheimer’s home care and can provide you with an experienced carer to help with anything you require.
If you are currently looking after a family member with Alzheimer’s, then Companions of London also provide dementia respite care so don’t be afraid to reach out. They can provide in-home Alzheimer’s care required so that you can have a break. You can trust that their incredible team will always have yours, and your loved one’s, best interests in mind.