LIVING WITH ALZHEIMER DISEASE
Alzheimer disease is a brain disease that makes you forget things that you used to know. It also makes it hard to pay attention, communicate, and do routine tasks. Alzheimer disease gets worse over time. At the start of the disease, you may be able to take care of yourself, but you will eventually need someone to help care for you.
It is normal to have many emotions about this condition, such as fear, sadness, anger, and loss. Here are some ways to help yourself cope with these emotions:
- Accept your emotions.
- Write down your thoughts and feelings in a journal.
- Build a supportive group of friends and family to help you.
- Join a support group for people with Alzheimer disease.
The changes caused by Alzheimer disease can be frightening and confusing. Here are some things you can do to make adjusting to these changes a little easier.
- Keep a daily routine.
- Keep a calendar in a central location. Write down your appointments and activities on the calendar.
- Keep a list of things you need to do.
- Focus on one task at a time.
- Organize medicines in a pillbox for each day of the week.
- Accept that some things may need to change for your safety, such as driving.
- Accept help from others.Do not be ashamed if you need help with certain tasks.
- Think about what is most stressful for you. Then find ways to change or avoid these things if possible. Ask for help from others to help relieve stress.
- Create a plan for any legal or financial actions that are needed. Get professional advice if you are not sure what should be done.
It is normal to feel stressed from time to time. Here are some signs that you are feeling stressed:
- Avoiding contact with other people.
- Anger or frustration.
- Denying that you have the disease.
- Trouble sleeping.
- Trouble concentrating.
- Developing other health problems.
- Create a bedtime and sleeping routine that includes:
- Sleeping in a cool bedroom.
- Using darkening shades.
- No physical activity or eating for a few hours before bedtime.
- Get regular exercise.
- Use safety devices, such as a cane or walker, if you have trouble balancing.
- Have a safety plan for emergencies. Consider using a safety alert system that allows you to get help quickly.
- Take steps to manage your stress. Try any of the following:
- Listen to music.
- Spend time with others.
- Talk about how you are feeling.
- Do creative artwork.
- Do meditation and deep breathing exercises.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your health care provider.
- Friends and family.
- Your place of worship.
- Counselors or therapists.
- Support groups.
- Home health care services.
- You are unable to care for yourself.
- You feel that you are in danger.
- You have feelings of harming yourself.
- You feel depressed.
If you ever feel like you may hurt yourself or others, or have thoughts about taking your own life, get help right away. You can go to your nearest emergency department or call:
- Your local emergency services.
- A suicide crisis helpline.
- Alzheimer disease is a brain disease that makes you forget things that you used to know. It also makes it hard to pay attention, communicate, and do routine tasks.
- Alzheimer disease gets worse over time. At the start of the disease, you may be able to take care of yourself, but you will eventually need someone to help care for you.
- The changes caused by Alzheimer disease can be frightening and confusing. You may need to make changes in your daily routine. Build a supportive group of friends and family to help you.