The increased population of older adults has led to more awareness regarding what it means to have Alzheimer’s disease. While most people know Alzheimer’s symptoms aren’t always as severe as what they might expect, there’s still some stigma about the condition. When you advocate for older adults, you can use these strategies to reduce the negative beliefs people have about Alzheimer’s.
1. Find Out the Facts
The first thing you should do is make sure you know the truth about Alzheimer’s disease. Start by researching the condition to find out about the different causes, symptoms, and stages. You can also learn about the available treatments along with tips everyone can use to reduce their risk of developing the disease. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, talk to his or her physician. Increasing your knowledge gives you a solid base of facts you can share when you encounter someone who still believes in the stigma. However, use tact when you share information. Most people don’t mean to harm anyone—they’re just mistaken in their beliefs.
A caregiver with specialized experience in Alzheimer’s care can be an outstanding source of information about the condition. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of in-home care. Clearwater families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
2. Take a People-First Approach
With most health conditions, it’s always best to do everything you can to focus on the person and not the symptoms. Older adults with Alzheimer’s disease are still people who are capable of achieving their goals and contributing to society. Always refer to seniors with Alzheimer’s disease by their names, and be sure to highlight the lives they’ve lived along with their current achievements. Showing that your loved one still enjoys playing music or learning new skills makes it clear there’s still life to live after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Experienced Alzheimer’s caregivers understand how harmful the stigma is and work hard to enable seniors with the disease to maintain their independence. Every senior living with Alzheimer’s deserves high-quality Alzheimer’s care. Clearwater families can rely on the caregivers at Home Care Assistance to keep their loved ones safe while managing the symptoms of the disease. Using our Cognitive Therapeutics Method, our caregivers help seniors regain a sense of pride and accomplishment while promoting cognitive health.
3. Be Willing to Go Public
When someone you love has Alzheimer’s disease, it’s important to respect his or her right to privacy. Always ask permission to share information about your loved one’s condition before you publicly sing his or her praises. However, opening up about what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s disease can be helpful for dispelling myths. If your loved one is comfortable with the idea, encourage him or her to join you out in public, where you can raise awareness. Many communities host marathons and other awareness events that you and your loved one can participate in to help others learn more about the condition.
4. Encourage Social Interactions
Some of the best advocates for people with Alzheimer’s disease are those who live with it every day. Encourage your loved one to be socially active and talk to other people as much as possible. When people visit with your loved one, they have the chance to see for themselves that people with Alzheimer’s disease retain many of their abilities. You and your loved one can also join support groups that further reduce the stigma of Alzheimer’s among those who are still facing challenges with the diagnosis.
A professional caregiver can be a great ally when you need information about Alzheimer’s and how to optimize your loved one’s quality of life. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Clearwater Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. Home Care Assistance can be your trusted partner when your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging. Call us today at (727) 330-7862 to learn about our high-quality in-home Alzheimer’s care services.