Written by Active Minds on Friday the 15th of December 2017.
Finding out a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s can be a very difficult time, and knowing how to support them after their diagnosis and beyond can be a daunting prospect. Their Alzheimer’s diagnosis will obviously have a large impact on their life, from their day to day activities, to their emotional well-being. It’s important as a family member, close friend or carer that you understand these impacts and how best you can help support them during their Alzheimer’s journey.
One of the best ways to fully support someone with Alzheimer’s is to spend time researching and understanding the disease. This will help you not only understand some of your loved one’s behaviours, but also how best to help them. There are a wide range of resources you can use to help in your research, including your local GP, charities and helplines. Also, don’t forget that your loved one is living with the disease so, if appropriate, they may be one of the best and most honest resources you can find.
Make sure you listen to your loved one. Spend time talking and listening, it is important that they know that their voice is valued. And remember to be patient, it may take them a while to put their point across but they should never feel rushed or unimportant.
Regular physical activities have been proven to help people living with dementia, helping to keep them healthy and maintain their physical ability. Encourage regular, gentle exercise such as a stroll round the local park, light gardening or low impact exercise such as seated workouts.
Routine can help a person living with Alzheimer’s feel relaxed, as they feel safe and secure knowing what to expect each day. Ensure the routine includes engaging activities which encourage socialising with others, as well as regular, healthy and balanced meals, outdoor activities and plenty of sleep.
Living with Alzheimer’s can be incredibly stressful, especially as a person begins their dementia journey, so it is important that your loved one is able to relax. Spend time with them working out what will help them unwind, whether that is painting, meditating or simply listening to the radio in a quiet room.