Talking to Your Family About Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's diseaseA diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease affects more than just the person diagnosed; it impacts the entire network of family, friends, and even the community at large that the senior will be in contact with. Communication is key to helping everyone involved to understand what to expect as the disease progresses. Nightingale Homecare’s Alzheimer’s disease specialists share the following tips to make sure everyone is on board with how to best help a senior with dementia to live life to the fullest possible potential.

  • For Children:
    • Answer their questions honestly and at an age-appropriate level.
    • Make sure they understand that the disease is not a result of anything they or anyone else has done.
    • Allow them plenty of opportunities to spend time with the senior, working on crafts together, listening to music or stories, etc.
    • Let them know it’s ok to feel sad, angry, or confused, and that you’re there to talk with them about their feelings.
  • For Adult Family Members:
    • Provide them with educational information about the disease.
    • Share specific ways that they can help, such as running errands, helping with meals or housework, or spending time with the senior to allow primary family caregivers with a much-needed break.
    • Explain ways to make communicating easier, such as greeting the senior by introducing themselves, making eye contact, and refraining from correcting the senior if he or she is confused.
    • Let them know the times of day that are best for the senior to have visitors, and to anticipate the person may exhibit feelings of frustration, anger or confusion as a normal effect of the disease.
  • For Community Contacts:
    • When visiting a restaurant, doctor’s office, library, or other public facility with the senior, it can be helpful to have cards on hand with a short explanation for his or her behavior. If the senior displays inappropriate behavior, you can quietly hand a card to anyone who might be impacted. The cards can read something as simple as, “Thank you for your patience and understanding with my family member, who has Alzheimer’s disease. The disease sometimes causes him/her to act out in unexpected ways.”

Most importantly, family members providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease need to surround themselves with resources and support to prevent caregiver burnout, a common – and serious – condition that can result when family caregivers become overwhelmed with meeting someone else’s care needs.

At Nightingale Homecare, we partner with families on the journey through Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions of aging, providing as much or as little support as needed to ensure that both the senior and his or her family members remain as healthy as possible. Contact our top-rated Alzheimer’s care company in Phoenix at (602) 504-1555 to learn more!