How does a child cope with their aging parent that is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease? Alzheimer’s Disease is a disease that can be difficult for the children of those afflicted with the disease. It may leave children feeling like their parents no longer need, love, or know them. This can cause emotional damage on the whole family—especially the child that sees their parent suffering from it. The mid to late stages of the disease can cause a lot of turmoil in the family. How can they families make their life more fulfilled, even while their parent may not know what is going on?
Here are 6 tips to help make it easier for children living with parents that have the disease:
- Use tangible photos and items to help jump start the parents’ memory. These items, whether it be a photo or some other memorabilia can help them to know where they are, who you are, and that they are safe where they are. Often times, these items can help trigger their long term memory and make them become more comfortable with their surroundings, instead of feeling lost.
- Always keep the car and house keys from those that suffer from this disease. While they might not have been able to drive for some time, many times those with the disease come up missing because they do not remember that they cannot leave or drive. They then forget where they are once they leave the home, and do not know how to find their way back.
- Look for patterns and create a routine that works for you, your family and your parents. You want to make things as easy as possible for them, but also for you. Caring for a parent that has the disease can seem like an insurmountable task, but if you’re into a good routine, you can assist them with what they need to do, while you accomplish your daily tasks.
- Ask for help when it is needed. If you have a number to a home health agency that has trained professionals on hand, then take advantage of it. You need to have you, and family time and this is the only way you might be able to get it. Trust in their professionalism.
- Make instructions clear and simple. Use concrete language. Communication can be difficult with someone that is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Being simple with your questions or commands, and helping them get through a sentence might seem like a lot of work but it can help you communicate better back and forth. Never interrupt them while they are talking, and always let them work through the words. If they are struggling with finding a work, gently help them find it by recommending words.
- Stay calm, be patient. Patience is a key tip for living with parents that have Alzheimer’s. You need to keep your cool, even when you think you might not be able to. This is because you want to ensure that you’re allowing them enough time to remember things, even the most common ones such as brushing their teeth, because even these simple tasks can be just as difficult for them.
While Alzheimer’s has no cure, you can ease your parents discomfort by showing your parents your love for them, and supporting them through it. Living a normal life as you may have known it might be behind you, but being there can mean a lot for them even if they do not seem to recognize your efforts. If things become too difficult, seek help from friends, family, and professional caregivers. There’s resources available that can assist you.