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Lessons from Grandpa, loving a person with Alzheimers

by | Sep 14, 2017 | Life & Style

By Jason W. Wiley, MGS

Chief Operating Officer, Oxford Senior Living

 

My love of seniors and my Grandpa led me to study Alzheimer’s and pursue a career in senior care. As a social gerontologist, I’ve come to better understand how this disease impacted my grandfather and how it impacts millions every day. Here’s a few tips I think Grandpa would have shared if he could have:

  1. “Drastic changes in my behavior and what I say is the result of my failing brain. I’m not being lazy or trying to hurt you.” Alzheimer’s disease can cause both physical and emotional outbursts. If Dad starts saying things that are socially inappropriate, realize that the part of his brain that helps him filter what is socially acceptable has been compromised.
  2. “Despite changes in my abilities, I am still very much the person I have been. I still want to have purpose, to be useful, to be needed.” A person with dementia may not be able to do the same purposeful things they did when they were younger, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give them opportunities to contribute.
  3. “Take care of yourself. I need you.” Caregivers often overlook their own health because they are so focused on their loved ones. Schedule respite care for your loved one, so that you can take breaks.
  4. “Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t be my caregiver 24/7. I know you’re doing the best you can, and I appreciate you for it … even if I can’t show it.” In-home caregivers can help, but when it’s time for 24/7 care, it may be in everyone’s best interest for your loved one to live in a memory care community with staff trained to understand dementia care and to keep mom physically and mentally stimulated.

Learn more at www.OxfordatSachse.com

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