Alzheimer’s Disease: Life through a Patient’s Eyes
When a loved one is suffering with Alzheimer’s disease it can be difficult knowing how to be around them. Too often it is easy to get caught up in how you are feeling instead of thinking what life is like for them. This is particularly true in the later stages when the person is experiencing severe memory loss and other debilitating problems. Here you will find out how to see the disease through a patient’s eyes. By understanding how they feel and what they need you can be a better support for your loved one.
Feeling like a Victim
One of the main things that affect an Alzheimer’s sufferer is being treated like a victim. All people tend to see when they look at an Alzheimer’s sufferer is the disease. It is easy to forget the person and who they were before the diagnosis. Were they a provider? If so then it can be very difficult switching roles and not feeling needed anymore. Your loved one will want to feel needed and like they are still of some use; particularly in the early stages of the disease.
It is easy to make them still feel needed. Ask for advice on things that they know about. This not only makes your loved one feel needed, but it also provides a nice distraction away from the disease for a short period of time. As the disease progresses the person will start to remember more things from the past. Therefore as you ask for advice you may just learn some fascinating stories along the way!
Understanding the Rollercoaster of Emotions
Imagine how you might feel if you were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Would you feel scared and worried about what the future holds? Would you feel humiliated as you start to lose control of your own body? Just because the person is losing their memory it doesn’t mean that they don’t feel anything. Without meaning to, you could be making your loved one feel worse by not truly understanding their feelings.
In order to help you should try to keep things in the present. Try not to make the person think too much about the past or to retrieve memories. If they fail to remember something then that can lead to frustration and upset.
Overall you need to help your loved one to feel dignified, needed and understood. They will be feeling a lot of different emotions and sometimes that may cause mood swings. They may be difficult at times but try to put yourself in their place. They are suffering from a disease which often makes them invisible to others. Follow the advice above and help them to feel like they are still living and that you need them just as much as you did before the diagnosis.