Receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer´s disease, or having a loved one diagnosed, can cause a range of emotions, from shock to relief. Patients often think “What will become of me from now on?”
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, a group of symptoms that affect memory, thinking and social skills. Over the long term, people lose the ability to reason, solve problems, coordinate their bodies, and perform common motor functions.
Although it´s a chronic-degenerative disease, some attitudes and actions can help patients have a better quality of life, manage daily challenges, and preserve their independence for as long as possible.
Next, we will give you some advice that you can follow as a patient, or as a caregiver.
Accept diagnosis and changes
After the diagnosis, it is normal to have different emotional reactions: anger, depression, fear, loss, denial, isolation… There is no one-size-fits all approach to this sensitive topic. But at some point, acceptance and relief come. This is because by having a medical diagnosis and treatment, steps can be taken to maintain quality of life longer.
Having an early diagnosis and understanding the behavioral changes that come with the disease can be helpful, but many times we aren´t comfortable taking the necessary actions to actually learn this essential information. It’s not always easy!
Each person and family addresses memory and cognitive changes and concerns in their own way… sometimes it´s better to try understanding instead of judging the unexpected behavior or the forgetfulness to better deal with it.
Take care of the emotional part
The patient with Alzheimer´s disease can go through depression, isolation, increase mood swings, and anger. Therefore, seeking psychological help is an excellent way understand better how to deal with negative feelings and help the patient better cope with the changes. In addition, a mental health specialist can recommend actions for both the patient and the care giver so that both maintain control over their lives and do not allow the illness to overwhelm them.
Keep a dairy of events
People living with Alzheimer’s must receive all possible stimuli to maintain their attention and memory. Keeping a diary helps them to express their feelings clearly and honestly, as well as to remember events from their day to day, and from past times.
Writing to remember not only benefits memory, but also creativity and imagination. Allows ideas to be organized, stimulates fine motor skills and, above all, keeps people in the present. In addition, rereading what has been written helps to consolidate ideas.
If, as a caregiver, you can’t encourage your loved one to keep a dairy, come up with activities like making a grocery list, a birthday card, a thank you card, transcribing lyrics to a song, or writing a story for the grandchildren, or to publish it.
Read every day
Reading is one of the best habits for people with Alzheimer’s. This is because the habit of reading promotes language, memory, imagination and helps patients maintain their cognitive functions.
You may remember the movie “The Notebook” in which Noah reads Allie from her own journal and helps her remember happy times. If as a caregiver you notice that the person with Alzheimer’s cannot read, continue to read to them constantly. You can read to yourself out loud or listen to audiobooks of short stories with few characters. Even popular sayings and jokes are a good idea to keep patients in a good mood.
Plan a daily routine
Maintaining a routine helps people with Alzheimer’s to perform simple tasks each day: getting up at the same time, taking their medicine, having breakfast, washing, reading, and even taking a short walk.
As a caregiver you can give them simple household chores like washing dishes (preferably plastic ones), sweeping the floor, folding clothes, dusting furniture, and even cooking. These tasks make them feel useful and improve their mood.
Socialize and have fun
Having fun is one of the things that relieves stress, anxiety, worry, and sadness. Spend more time with the family, especially if there are small children: they transmit joy and are people with whom you can engage in simple conversations and even tell them stories from your past, which are usually the ones you remember the most.
Music is also stimulating cognitive functions such as memory and imagination. Also, while a person with Alzheimer’s may have difficulty speaking, they can sing songs from the past, dance (to their beat), or just feel the music.
It’s also a perfect opportunity to talk about music, past events, what you were doing when the song or singer was popular.
Keep a hobby
Adopting a hobby, such as gardening, is a way to stimulate the person with Alzheimer’s since watering their plants, pruning them, and changing the soil helps them exercise, have fun, and relieve stress.
Spiritual activities are also very comforting for people with Alzheimer’s, especially those who enjoy religious worship. Reading from books they hold sacred, praying, doing holiday rituals, and putting on songs or hymns can lift their spirits and make them reminisce about the past.
Try stem cell therapy for Alzheimer’s
There is currently no treatment to reverse Alzheimer’s disease. This condition affects many types of brain cells (neurons) and there are no medicines or surgeries to repair the damage.
However, stem cell implantation can help form new neural cells, which are found in the brain and form new, healthy neurons that slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. In this way, the quality of life and independence of the person with Alzheimer’s can be maintained for several years.
At ProgenCell we are a clinic specialized in stem cell therapy and with us you will find a reliable, safe treatment, carried out by doctors specialized in regenerative medicine and with cutting edge facilities.
If your family needs support in navigating these changes and determining how to proceed, we invite you to contact us. Schedule your assessment consultation for stem cell therapy for Alzheimer’s through our website and prolong your quality of life or that of your loved one with ProgenCell stem cell therapy.