Strategies to Support a Loved One with Alzheimer’s

When it comes to coping and caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, it’s important at times to consider what you don’t say and do.

“People with Alzheimer’s live in a different reality once it advances,” says Paula Lett, social services manager at Care Resources, a Grand Rapids-based program for older adults that promotes healthy, independent living and helps prevent nursing home placement.

“In the beginning, they can be redirected, but as things progress, they’re stuck in a reality they’ve lived previously.”

The result can lead to extreme “agitation,” which can manifest itself in “getting upset, worked up and angry,” notes Ryanne Mondry, social services supervisor at Care Resources.

There are numerous strategies recommended for caregivers, including what Mondry says are telling “therapeutic white lies” to reduce stress in patients. For example, if a widower asks about seeing his wife, he shouldn’t be told she’s been dead five years, but instead that “she’s going to try to visit tomorrow.”

Telling harsh truths might seem like the moral thing to do, but doing so can challenge the reality the disease has caused, and lead to traumatic episodes.

Click here to read the full list of coping tips and how Care Resources can provide quality direct dementia care to participants.

Last updated 4.9.2024 I H5610_WEB

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