With over 20 years of being in business, Wilson Care has established itself as the finest senior care company in Oahu. With so many elderly patients we’ve cared for, both at home and in our senior living center, we’ve seen the full spectrum of health among Hawaii’s elderly many times over.
In our decades of experience, we have treated many seniors who struggle with dementia and Alzheimer’s, and we’ve learned a thing or two on how to treat it in the process. Alzheimer’s is one of the most difficult conditions to live with, both for seniors and their loved ones, and we often get questions on how best to deal with it.
One of the first places to start is looking at it from your loved one’s perspective. As caregivers for the elderly in Hawaii, we’ve spoken with countless patients who suffer from Alzheimer’s and dementia — here are some things they would like you to know.
Note: These are generalities collected from years of experience working with Alzheimer’s patients, and may not reflect the exact views of your loved one.
I’m Still the Same Person
It’s not impossible for Alzheimer’s to transform a person, even to the point where they may feel like a husk of their old selves. However, this kind of dramatic transformation typically doesn’t occur until the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s — the patient will likely have many years before that where they’re the same person as they’ve ever been, albeit with some difficulties.
One thing that we hear the most from Alzheimer’s and dementia patients is that they’re still the same person. Sure, there may be a memory lapse here and there, but aside from that, they still have the same personality, the same interests, the same quirks and habits, and so on. Memory loss can be hard to deal with, but doubly so if one’s friends and family stop treating them like a normal person.
I Want to Be Involved
This one varies from person to person depending on how innately social they are, but for the most part, dementia and Alzheimer’s patients still want to be involved in engaging activities. This one sort of aligns with our point above — in addition to treating your loved one like they always have, make sure that you’re inviting them to engage in activities that they enjoy. Whether you’re playing a game, watching a movie, or going out on the town, invite your loved one. This not only helps them to feel loved, but it can also help their brain to stay active.
Have Patience With Me
It’s easy to talk about how difficult it is living with someone who has memory loss problems, but it’s an order of magnitude worse for them. They’re fully aware of their problem, and you can bet that it’s often a great source of shame and embarrassment for them when it causes problems in a social setting. Memory lapses can be difficult in a conversational setting — the patient might forget what you told them just moments earlier, or repeat things they’ve already said.
Patience is the key here, and we can assure that Alzheimer’s patients are already very self-conscious of how their condition annoys other people. Instead of expressing negative reactions, be calm, collected, and empathetic. This can go a long way into helping them feel loved and at ease.
Don’t Make Unfair Assumptions
One problem with dementia is that everybody seems to have a different definition for it. Dementia itself is simply a blanket term for a variety of cognitive conditions relating to memory loss, Alzheimer’s being one of them. People can experience dementia in a variety of different ways. For some people, it’s a minor problem that only manifests itself rarely. For others, it might be a constant occurrence.
The nature of memory loss is also different from person to person. Some people forget where they are and who they’re with, sometimes even forgetting the names and identities of family members closest to them. Meanwhile, some people might just have a harder time remembering information like what they planned to do that day or some of their favorite movie quotes.
The point is, dementia hits everyone differently, and nobody who suffers from it wants people to make sweeping assumptions about them. Ask your loved one directly and consult with a medical professional to understand the scope of their dementia — this will make all future interactions much easier.
Respect My Independence
This can be a tricky one, because sometimes people insist on being much more independent than they have a right to be, and this is especially true for senior citizens. Some folks shouldn’t drive or live on their own, period, even if they believe that everything will be just fine.
With that being said, don’t jump the gun with your loved one who has dementia. Odds are, they’re still capable of managing most of their life on their own. More than anything, it’s best to communicate face-to-face and hear it from them what they’re capable of doing, and what they want your help with.
Alzheimer’s Assisted Living in Oahu
It’s important to know what you can do for your loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s, but it’s equally important to ensure that they’re getting the care they need. At Wilson Care, we provide home care services and assisted living for Alzheimer’s patients all over Oahu. Whether they’re suffering from memory loss, or they just need a little bit of help in general, our caregivers would be happy to lend a hand. Contact us today to get started!