November 6th, 2020 | Senior Health
November is a month full of family traditions, kicking off the holiday season with comforting foods and good company. If your table this year is a bit different now that a senior loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, you aren’t alone. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that approximately 5 million adults are living with the disease today, meaning chances are high that someone in your neighborhood or circle of friends find themselves in a caregiving role for their senior loved one too.
As we embark on November here at Legend Senior Living, we are planning on observing National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month with our colleagues throughout senior care. No matter if you have been caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s disease for years, if you are just getting acclimated to a new diagnosis, if you are living with it yourself, or if you are just looking for a way to be a better neighbor, here are a few things you can do this month and beyond.
Check In On Caregivers
November is also National Family Caregivers Month, which makes it the perfect time to check in on those who are juggling their own personal and professional lives with the tasks that come with coordinating care for their senior loved one. Most family members of seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease take on caregiving tasks ranging from care coordination to meal preparation to safety checks. It’s exhausting, and most family caregivers are at a higher risk of experiencing health complications of their own.
You can check in on caregivers you know by sending them a quick text or leaving them a voicemail. If possible, offer your help to drop off a meal for them to enjoy or to shuttle their kids to their next basketball practice so they can have a break.
If you are the caregiver, use this month as a time to practice asking for help. Call a sibling to see if they can take over meal preparations for a few weeks or investigate respite care services near you so you can finally schedule a weekend out of town.
If you are coping with a new Alzheimer’s diagnosis in your family or if your loved one has progressed to a new stage of the disease, learning more about dementia is an excellent first step. Even the most experienced professionals who have worked with people living with Alzheimer’s disease for decades can learn something new. In fact, the Memory Care teams at Legend Senior Living’s residences across the country are deeply committed to ongoing education so that we can always be at the forefront of new interventions or approaches.
Start your research by learning the top ten warning signs of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia in seniors. Then, talk to your geriatrician for more specific information about your situation as well as look for educational lectures and caregiver support groups. The teams at Legend Senior Living residences are happy to help as well, putting our decades of dementia care experience to work for you.
Find Quality Time
If your senior loved one is living with Alzheimer’s disease, it is easy to immediately switch your relationship to patient and caregiver. However, if you are always in caregiver mode, you miss out on the chance to just be a daughter, son, grandchild, or friend. Carve time out for quality time with your loved one, remembering that it is not about the activity you are doing; it’s about the time you spend and the memories you create for yourself.
Try taking a drive through your old neighborhood together, listening to music and chatting about anything and everything. Bake a favorite cookie recipe or enjoy a cup of coffee out on the porch. Look through old photo albums or stroll along in a favorite park.
Turn to the Experts
Walking through Alzheimer’s disease with your senior loved one is difficult, certainly. You can find yourself being worried and overwhelmed. However, you can also find the moments of joy and peace that can sneak into your day as well. You are more likely to have a better relationship with your loved one, as well as stay healthier yourself, when you turn to the experts at Legend Senior Living.
Our Memory Care residences are designed to support people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia from the ground up. In our loving residences, you will find trained staff members providing personalized care for each individual resident. It’s not uncommon to smell lavender scents in the evenings so that residents can enjoy the relaxing benefits of aromatherapy. You’ll find residents interacting with one another, with staff members, and with vignettes especially for them. We specialize in providing opportunities for sensory stimulation and reminiscing, each leaving residents feeling empowered, cared for, and happy.
We would love to hear more about your experiences with Alzheimer’s disease. Share your favorite story or breakthrough moment via video here. We all have so much to learn from one another.
Let’s honor the Alzheimer’s disease journey - and family caregivers everywhere - this month and beyond.