Wed. Oct 4th, 2023

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another memory-based illness can be a devastating shock to not only the individual, but partners, close friends, and members of the family too. 

However, even though you may be feeling intensely conflicting emotions, it is your duty to remain, at least on the outside, calm, positive, and practical, especially after your loved one has just been diagnosed.

With this in mind, continue reading to learn of three important and incredibly effective ways to help your parent with their Alzheimer’s diagnosis. 

  1. Understanding Common Coping Mechanisms 

Different people handle such a diagnosis in entirely different ways, and one of the most effective ways of being the physical and emotional support your loved one needs is to understand the different coping mechanisms a person can have. 

Generally, coping strategies, particularly in the early stage of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, include:

  • Social strategies including more reliance on family members and joining groups.
  • Health improvement strategies including losing weight and stopping drinking.
  • Practical strategies in the context of making decisions like power of attorney.
  • Emotional strategies such as living for the moment.

Either now or in the future, it would also be of assistance to your parent if you started to talk about the potential consideration of moving to a senior living community with comprehensive Alzheimer’s care facilities and medical professionals. 

  1. Learn How to Communicate

Naturally, you will presumably have had an infinite number of conversations with your parent over the years, but one thing that can quite drastically change when symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease begin to manifest is how they communicate. 

Often, individuals struggle to connect memories with the present, and confusion can come when attempting to recall what they said just a few minutes or seconds beforehand.

This is why learning how to communicate with your parent now they have changed how they converse is a great way to support them. Start to speak slower than normal, maintain eye contact, and use simple sentences and words. Additionally, avoid sudden and loud movements, keep your expressions positive and neutral, and always sit down with your parent when talking to them rather than stand over them.

  1. Work Hard to Maintain a Happy & Positive Relationship

In some situations, being told to keep a PMA (positive mental attitude) can seem trite and irrelevant, but when it comes to maintaining a healthy, happy, and generally positive relationship with your parent, this really can make a difference. 

Focus not on how your parent used to talk, behave, or react and instead consider this to be a new phase of your relationship and concentrate on the here and now. 

Furthermore, you should also consider talking to someone about your changing relationship, especially if, for now, at least, you will be your parent’s primary caregiver. If you feel comfortable opening up to a close friend, go right ahead, or alternatively, at least consider booking an appointment with a professional therapist or counselor. 

By Manali