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Learn to See with Alzheimer’s Eyes

Guest Author - Debbie Mandel

When you are living with someone who has Alzheimer’s, try to see the world from his or her perspective. Get to know the new person he or she has become. When you see the world from an Alzheimer’s perspective, you will need to rearrange furniture, get in sync with changing biorhythms and learn to preserve peace and dignity. Avoid confrontations and physical injury; quiet agitation and stimulate the patient to slow down the intellectual and emotional erosion. If you keep your expectations realistic and make an effort to see the positive, the loving side of Alzheimer’s, your stress levels will be lower and so will your loved one’s. Learn to live in the moment as the disease forces your loved one to do just that. Living in the moment is not such a bad thing. In life there are good moments and bad moments. If you are both experiencing a bad moment, the good news is that it will be momentary and can change. Here are some suggestions to help the caregiver cope:
  • Avoid arguments or making the patient realize that he or she doesn’t remember. No one wants to feel inferior! Instead, distract and compliment. Looking at photographs is helpful. Playing uplifting or familiar music is also effective.
  • Laugh and smile a lot. Don’t be afraid to act silly. Be elemental.
  • Exercise with your loved one or send him to a special exercise program for Alzheimer’s. Exercise will elevate mood and improve coordination and mental skills. If you exercise together, not only will you bond, but you will both de-stress and be happier.
  • Keep your home cheerful and sun-drenched. Light is energizing. At night use bright lights to help the Alzheimer’s patient feel like it is still daytime in order to avoid sundowning which heralds a different and more sinister night time agitation.
  • Try to get the Alzheimer’s patient to do a simple craft or hobby. Praise him or her liberally. Emphasize capabilities. Do not talk about limitations.
  • Make the house user-friendly. Avoid coffee tables with sharp edges. Keep furniture out of pathways, so the patient won’t bump into walls.
  • Avoid a lot of company coming to the house. They could be intimidating and might distract you from your loved one who could escape out the door.
  • Keep the things that you want the patient to see and use- visible. Lay out clothes in the order that they should be put on- underwear on top. Make the bathroom bright and visible and remind the patient regularly to use it.
  • If your loved one can no longer use utensils, adjust by providing finger foods.
  • Hug and kiss a lot. Medication can be coaxed with kindness and gentility.

Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer at Southampton College. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WHLI 1100AM in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com


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Content copyright © 2014 by Debbie Mandel. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Debbie Mandel. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

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