Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most misunderstood health conditions, and the stigmas associated with it can cause families to experience negative emotions. Many people put off seeking a diagnosis for the condition or live in denial because they’re afraid of the stigma they may face if they admit to having the disease. While people with Alzheimer’s must make changes in their lifestyle, there’s no reason to be stigmatized when there are opportunities to live a full life. Now that your aging loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you can use the following tips to do your part to promote positivity for anyone living with the condition.
1. Understand Where the Stigma Comes From
When you first encounter negativity regarding Alzheimer’s, your first instinct may be to aggressively defend your loved one. While this may allow you to vent your emotions, it does nothing to advance the cause. Instead, take a step back and try to understand where the other person is coming from. For example, a family member may simply be fearful of losing his or her relationship with your loved one. Alternatively, someone you meet in public may only know what he or she has seen in movies. Once you see how the stigma comes from fear and ignorance, it’s easier to adapt a compassionate mindset that allows you to share the truth with kindness.
Family caregivers are often overwhelmed when providing care for an older adult with Alzheimer’s. 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 Albuquerque 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.
2. Explore Your Beliefs
When you want to change the world, your first step should always be to start with yourself. Spend a little time examining your true thoughts to see if you also believe in falsehoods that affect your actions as a caregiver. For instance, you might have started doing things for your loved one that he or she can do independently. Once you change your thought patterns, you’ll be better able to assist others in shifting their mindsets.
3. Counteract Falsehoods
As an Alzheimer’s caregiver, you can consider facts and figures to be one of your biggest weapons for fighting the stigma. Do some research so you can quickly share information with others, such as how many older adults with Alzheimer’s disease continue to live independently. You can also refer people to support groups or hand out pamphlets so they can continue to educate themselves during their free moments.
While your loved one may enjoy living independently, he or she may need some assistance managing daily tasks. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Albuquerque seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.
4. Choose to Be an Advocate in Your Community
Every community should surround people with Alzheimer’s with support, but stigmas often stop this from happening. Find out what local community groups do to help seniors in your loved one’s neighborhood, and identify areas where growth needs to happen. For instance, you may notice there are no senior programs available to encourage socialization and exercise. Once you identify a need, see if you can find a solution. Getting the community to work together to raise Alzheimer’s awareness allows you to battle stigmas on a larger level.
5. Strengthen Your Loved One’s Abilities
You can also work at home to reduce the stigma associated with Alzheimer’s. Help your loved one be a strong example of what life can be like with Alzheimer’s by taking steps to preserve his or her independence. Spend time engaging in memory-enhancing activities together, and provide the assistance your loved one needs to stay healthy. As your loved one advances through the stages and maintains independence, you can use his or her example to continue to challenge the stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s.
Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Albuquerque senior home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help. To schedule a free in-home consultation, give us a call at 505-798-0800 today.