In 2019 it is estimated that 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia. There are more than 10 million new cases of dementia discovered each year.
In the beginning stages of dementia, you may notice your loved one becoming more forgetful or they may do things like get lost in unfamiliar places. By the middle stage, the signs begin to be more pronounced such as forgetting people’s names, having more difficulty with communication, and exhibiting behavioral changes unlike them. By the late stage of dementia, memory disturbances are serious and can include seniors becoming aggressive, having difficulty walking, and the inability to recognize relatives and friends, even those very close and whom they see on a regular basis.
It can be upsetting and even devastating to some family caregivers and loved ones who help their senior on a daily basis when they forget who they are. It is difficult to handle and sad to think that the person that you are with every day, often times a parent, no longer has the ability to recognize the huge part that you play in their lives.
If your senior parent or loved one receiving elder care has recently shown signs that they are approaching the late stage of Alzheimer’s or dementia, or if they have already been unable to recognize you or other key members of their life, here are some ways to cope:
If this is new territory for you, it may be helpful to seek out others who can help. There are support groups online and in your community that you can join so that you can get tips from others and have people to listen to you when times get particularly hard.
Knowledge is power, so do some research on the stages of dementia so you know what to expect. It may be helpful to know beforehand what you might experience with your senior so that if it happens, you can be more prepared and less caught off guard wondering how to handle it or if it is normal.
Take a break
If your senior or loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s is showing signs of aggression or other behavioral changes that are upsetting to you, it’s okay to take a break. Your mental health and well-being is important so know that if you need to step out of the house or even have a professional caregiver come in from time to time, that is perfectly acceptable.
Don’t take it personal
As upsetting as it is, try and remember that nothing can erase the lifetime of happiness and moments shared with your parent or loved one and that them not remembering who you are or events that have happened in their life is not personal and is just a really hard and sad effect of a terrible disease.
When you are in need of care for a senior loved one, consider caregivers provided by Golden Heart Senior Care. We have offices nationwide. For more information, call us today at (800) 601-2792.