June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, and advocates across the health care, nonprofit, and legal communities are engaged in promoting public education and offering resources to those in need. Did you know that there are currently more than 5.8 million seniors living with Alzheimer’s Disease in the United States, and millions of family members are suffering alongside them?
If an elder loved one is living with Alzheimer’s, or if you know a family that is coping with it, let us share five ways you can help them right here in our blog today.
- Understand Alzheimer’s Disease. There is no substitute for education. Taking an active role to educate yourself is an empowering first step. For example, many people may not realize that Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that begins long before memory loss symptoms first occur. There is also no known cure and the progression of the disease is categorized by three phases with distinct characteristics. Knowing them can help you understand the impacts of Alzheimer’s and how to respond to them.
- Offer a reprieve. Offering to spend time with an elder person living with Alzheimer’s can provide the primary caregiver, such as an aging spouse or adult child, with much-needed relief. Remember, caregivers are under pressure to meet their own needs in addition to those of the dependent senior adult.
- Organize safe social interactions. Engaging people with Alzheimer’s Disease is important for overall health, especially when communication skills begin to decline. Social stimulation in relaxed settings can induce positive emotions and help mitigate the effects of loneliness and social isolation.
- Be patient. Adapting to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is an ongoing process and each person reacts differently. Maintaining patience and flexibility can be important, as an elder person with the disease, or a family caregiver, might not be comfortable with outside support right away.
- Provide information about needed resources. Helping an elder relative, a family in need, or perhaps an older couple in your neighborhood or sphere of influence, to identify support resources can make a huge difference. For instance, the nonprofit Alzheimer’s Association offers resources in communities across the country, as well as free online courses to learn more about Alzheimer’s Disease. Additional resources can be secured by using an Eldercare Locator to find an Area Agency on Aging, or by contacting a doctor’s office specializing in Alzheimer’s care. The legal community is also a potent resource for families in need of professional assistance.
One thing is clear about coping with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, support and access to resources is important. Planning and educating yourself and loved ones about the disease can make all the difference. Our firm provides resources and legal support to those impacted by Alzheimer’s Disease. If you or someone you know would like more information or guidance about related legal matters, contact our office today to schedule a meeting time.