"Think of yourself and all of the things you enjoy. I enjoy my family, exercise, my job, working in the yard, my dogs, chocolate, reading and travel. Now, everything that I love to do and everything that you love to do is controlled by your brain, right? So, what if your brain is deteriorating from Alzheimer's? If it is, you no longer remember the things you love to do; chocolate doesn't taste the same; in fact, you may not even like the texture of the chocolate and you may spit it out; in addition, you may not even know WHY you need to eat, so you don't.
If your brain is deteriorating from Alzheimer's, then who are?" BrightStar Care of Chattanooga had the pleasure of attending a "panel of the experts" at Morning Pointe Chattanooga last week where Dr. Matthew Kodsi, Amy Boulware, Elder Care Planning Managers, Red Bank Police Department, Chattanooga Police Department Crisis Intervention Team and Occupational Therapists all answered questions from the audience of 200+ attendees. Amy Boulware shared that explanation with us and it has really made an impact on me. I feel like I have a better understanding of Alzheimer's when it is described like this. Have you seen a photo of a brain deteriorating from Alzheimer's and compared it to a healthy brain? Look at these photos and that statement will make even more sense. Remember, you cannot convince someone with Alzheimer's to think like you or agree with you. There brain is damaged and the the damage is irreversible; whereas, you have the ability to conform for their sake. Other comments shared include:
- Think of Dementia as a 'Car' and Alzheimer's as a type of car. There are many different types of Dementia.
- Every person diagnosed with Alzheimer' will have behaviors unique to them just like you have behaviors unique to you.
- Think about going to the grocery store or to the doctor's office and how many distractions there are. You are able to 'tune out' the bombardment of stimuli whereas a person with Alzheimer's is not. Their brain is not able to filter out all of the things that are distracting and the simple outing to the grocery can be very stressful.
- Don't give someone with Alzheimer's too much to do or you may overwhelm them.
- All behavior has a reason.
- When do you take a loved one to the doctor to be tested for Alzheimer's? A good baseline is to think of something they are very good at such as accounting. When they are no longer good with numbers, then it may be a good time to take them. Significant memory loss is not a normal part of aging.
- People with Alzheimer's are either somewhat unaware or significantly unaware that they have the disease.
- In order to get them to do something for you such as take their medication, convince them that they are doing the action for YOU and how much it will help YOU. "Mom I am going to hire someone to come into your home once a week to help you with cleaning and cooking because I need help. I have so much to do with my job and my own home that this will help ME tremendously.'
- If you want to take the keys away but they don't want you to do so, say, 'let's go down to Siskin and take their driving test. It is a cognitive, physical and visual assessment to determine your own safety. Why don't you prove me wrong and take the test?'
- As far as driving, most don't want to lose their ability to drive because it is a loss of independence so find out WHERE they want to go and take them. Or, call a company such as BrightStar to help with transportation.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and can benefit from in-home care assistance, please call BrightStar Care of Chattanooga at 423.296.6640 for a complimentary nursing Assessment by our Director of Nursing, Amy Diamondidis, RN. BrightStar Care Chattanooga is the only in-home care provider in the Chattanooga and North Georgia area that is accredited by the Joint Commission.