If you or a family member has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you’re not alone. More than 5 million people in the U.S. are living with some form of dementia. While receiving the diagnosis is difficult, there are still factors within your control, including how you decide to move forward. Here are some considerations as you adjust to a new diagnosis and things to keep in mind when adjusting to life With Alzheimer’s Disease.
Allow yourself an emotional response.
Some people jump right into practical steps for managing Alzheimer’s Disease by exploring treatment options. With that being said, it’s important to make space for the emotions you may be experiencing. Whether you’ve been diagnosed or it’s someone you love, you’re likely to feel a wide range of feelings. These are normal, and give yourself grace as you feel them. Some common emotional responses include denial, shock, anger, fear, and sorrow.
You could find yourself feeling several different emotions at once, or going through a cycle in which you feel them repeatedly. There’s no right or wrong way for them to appear, and everyone experiences them differently.
As you go through these feelings, here are some strategies that may help you promote emotional wellbeing:
- Turn to support groups, either in person or online, or a counselor
- Maintain social interactions with loved ones
- Learn as much as you can about Alzheimer’s to make informed decisions
- Set up plans for the future now to alleviate future challenges
Support your physical wellbeing.
While Alzheimer’s leads to cognitive impairment, you’ll still want to focus on your physical wellness. For example, get routine checkups to ensure your hearing and vision are still strong, as sensory impairments could exacerbate symptoms such as confusion.
Exercise can also help keep you active and physically well, and there is also evidence to suggest physical activity can improve a person’s ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs) in people with dementia. Be sure to follow a well-rounded diet to give your mind and body ample nutrients as well. Some foods, such as berries, leafy greens, nuts, and fish, appear to have cognitive benefits.
Additionally, give your brain a workout, too. Do crosswords, Sudoku, or other puzzle games to exercise your mental abilities, too.
Stay socially engaged.
Social interactions have a beneficial effect on several key brain functions. Thus, while you may feel tempted to withdraw from loved ones, it’s important to stay socially active. If you’re the loved one of a person who has recently been diagnosed, be sure to learn as much as possible about symptoms and behavioral changes so you know what to expect. Or, if you have Alzheimer’s, seek support groups in which the whole family can learn so everyone is on the same page. This can help to facilitate strong family support.
Of course, socializing outside the family is beneficial, too. The Alzheimer’s Association website lists support groups that meet regularly. Many people find it helpful to meet with others who have a firsthand understanding of the challenges they’re facing.
Implement strategies to ease your routine.
There are several tips you can try to help you maintain your confidence. For instance, tactics such as carrying a notepad, keeping a list of phone numbers near your phone, and maintaining a written schedule for each day are memory aids that can help you stay on track. You can also use devices like pillboxes to keep track of medication. Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance with certain tasks when needed, too. Simply having someone remind you of important events could be helpful. If you are interested in learning more about life with Alzheimer’s Disease then Contact us today!