Living and Coping with Alzheimer’s Disease: When Do You Step in and Get a Senior the Help They Need?
It can be heartbreaking and devastating when a parent or a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other form of Dementia. While they will be able to continue functioning normally, after a while they will inevitably start to show signs of being unable to cope with day to day living on their own. This is due to the progressive nature of this insidious affliction.
It’s insidious because it almost imperceptibly advances and the patient, and those around them, don’t even realize what’s happening to them. For someone who is used to being independent and in control, they may be reluctant to seek help even after they begin neglecting their regular daily activities and tasks like taking necessary medications. Their lives may seem to be spiraling out of control to you or another close individual.
As a loved one or guardian, it will be your duty to keep a watchful eye on your parent or patient to make sure they get help if they need it with their day to day living. In this article, you’ll learn some of the signs of Alzheimer’s that indicate the senior needs or is going to need long-term care or a full-time caregiver.
1. Letting their normal day-to-day tasks slide
This may be the most obvious sign of them all. It’s especially obvious if the patient was a very neat and organized individual. As the dementia progresses, they may neglect the normal day to day tasks and chores that make up their everyday life.
Their home will become increasingly messy. Dirty dishes and pots and pans may start to pile up. Old food may rot or become inedible but will not be thrown away. Simple maintenance items like replacing light bulbs or cleaning floors will not get done. As a result, their home will slowly fall into a state of disrepair and eventually it will become dangerous for them to live in.
The sad irony here is that the disheveled state of their home begins reflecting the unfortunate state of their mind. It’s imperative that you speak to the person and find out why their living conditions have taken a turn for the worse.
In some cases, they may have become depressed or some other understandable event may have taken place and they’re not in a mood to do anything. But for the less fortunate, it will be due to Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia and they will not even realize that living conditions have deteriorated around them.
2. Personal hygiene and general cleanliness
Just like the way the house and daily regular tasks get neglected, the person may also forget to brush their teeth, take a shower or change their clothes.
They may wear the wrong clothes for the weather when going outside the house or not wash or iron their clothes, some may not change clothes for days or even weeks if not monitored. They don’t care or pay attention to how they look and don’t care what others think about them.
3. Erratic or dangerous behavior
Another very common indicator of early Alzheimer’s or other dementia is behavior that doesn’t seem normal. The person may be easily agitated or confused by otherwise normal occurrences. There have been many cases where a senior who is suffering from Alzheimer’s physically abuses their partner or caregiver. These actions typically will be the complete opposite of how they behaved before their mental faculties started to slip.
The person may also have bruises and cuts and have no idea how they got them. They may have fallen or accidentally injured themselves and have no memory of it.
Their driving may be unpredictable too which is a very dangerous situation. Steps must be taken to prevent them from driving. Having their license revoked, and taking away their car keys are measures that can be taken to address the problem before it ends in a worst-case scenario that costs someone their life.
4. Where is the money going?
Seniors who have Alzheimer’s have been known to literally spend hundreds of dollars on stuff they don’t need. They don’t have a care in the world about their finances. To make matters worse, they may forget that they bought all the extra stuff and suddenly wonder where all their money has gone.
Check all their bills. Have they purchased things they don’t need? Are there out of the ordinary charges on their credit cards?
Also make sure they’re not paying anyone for services that they don’t require. There are nefarious people actively trying to take advantage of the elderly for financial gain. Everyone needs to be on high alert for scams against the elderly.
These are just some of the signs that the patient’s mental faculties are slipping, and you need to step in and help them out. Initially, there may be a period of adjustment that will be a test of patience for all involved, but once the person gets used to the help and care, they’ll rely on you even without realizing it.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia are diseases that affect both the patient and those who care for them. If you find yourself getting depressed and irritable and unable to deal with it, then it might be time to investigate hiring a full-time caregiver to shoulder some of the burden. This could be one of the best decisions you could make.