The month of November marks National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that leads to memory, thinking, and behavior problems. Being the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, there is no cure or prevention for the disease. One of three seniors die from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, killing more people than Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer combined. 

In the beginning, memory problems start out with misplacing items, forgetting appointments, etc. As the disease progresses, a person with the disease can no longer accomplish everyday tasks, they cannot eat or perform the necessities of life demands. Alzheimer’s patients require 24/7 care when they get to this extent of the disease. More than 16 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. The strenuous job of a caregiver requires a tremendous amount of patience, love, and delicacy. Here are some tips to consider while in the presence of an Alzheimer’s patient:

  • Keep Things Simple- Say one thought at a time and try to keep the conversation in relevance of the patient. 
  • Be Reassuring- As often as possible, try to reassure the patient and make them feel comfortable and safe. Weighted anxiety blankets are used to help with what your words cannot.
  • Don’t Yell or Argue- Repeating yourself and dealing with the variety of emotions that come along with an Alzheimer’s patient can be frustrating, however, it’s important to understand that they have no control over this and you are the calming voice they need.
  • Keep a Daily Routine- It’s best to have a set daily routine, and stick to it. Having a routine creates a sense of familiarity and comfort, which can help patients’ anxiety and emotions.

At the Women’s Resource Center, we offer an Alzheimer’s Support Group at our Manatee Center every second Thursday of the month from 2:30-3:30pm. We understand what it’s like to be a caregiver, or have a loved one battling this debilitating disease, and provide resources to help you along this heartbreaking journey. For more information, please call (941) 747-6797.