Coping with Alzheimer’s Disease

Contrary to popular belief, Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of growing old. Just because you’re hitting 70s or 80s, this doesn’t automatically make you a candidate for this condition.

Although it’s common knowledge that age is the greatest risk factor of Alzheimer’s disease, being more common in people who are 65 years and older, people should know that this can also be experienced by people who are as young as 40 to 50 years old. Moreover, it is also possible to prevent the onset of this health problem by living a healthy lifestyle.

Now, if you or anyone in the family are suffering from this condition, here are some practical ways on how to live happily despite of it.

Understand the condition
The first step in coping with any health problem is to understand it. Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common form of dementia, occurs when nerve cells in the brain die. When this happens, it is more difficult for the brain to transmit and receive signals properly.

It is challenging to distinguish the early onset of this ailment. Eventually, it becomes more evident when the person experiences problems with memory, thinking, and judgment. It also becomes hard for the person to work or perform daily functions. The death of the nerve cells in the brain doesn’t occur instantaneously but gradually over a period of years. Drugs for Alzheimer’s disease can alleviate symptoms but there is no cure for this particular form of dementia.

Be aware of the consequences
Living with Alzheimer’s can be extremely difficult, not only for the patient but also for his/her family. People suffering from this condition would deal with various issues ranging from physical such as fatigue and loss of ability to perform tasks, to mental and emotional like anxiety, low self-esteem, isolation, withdrawal from socialization, and many more. Being aware of all the effects of this disease is a step further in being able to live and cope with this condition. It is also to be expected that there will be financial difficulty along the way since the patient will no longer be able to work and will need expensive medications and treatment.

Make life better
Even if a person begins to feel hopeless because he/she could no longer do the things he/she used to do before, there are still so many things that one can do to make life better. For one, do not isolate from friends and family. A person with this disease will need all the moral support he/she can get. Taking care of a sick person is already very difficult; do not make the experience even more stressful by being cranky, depressed or frustrated.

Also, do things that you enjoy. Play games, engage in sports, and do other worthwhile activities with the supervision of a family member or health care provider. Do not be afraid to ask your doctor or health care provider for clarifications on instructions or any other thing that you don’t understand or remember.

Lastly, don’t let stress get to you. Stress can only make matters worse.

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