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How to Tell Your Family Members Your Parent Has Alzheimer’s Disease

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When a senior loved one receives an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, it can be difficult to know how to proceed. By sharing the diagnosis, caregivers can broaden their support base, but this act of sharing is easier said than done. Here are a few tips for caregivers who need to open up about an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. 

Respect Your Parent’s Wishes

Following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, seniors often need time to process before divulging to friends and family.Respect the need for privacy and offer an appropriate amount of time before informing other family members. If your parent refuses to share the diagnosis, you may have to step in. Oftentimes, seniors are reluctant because they believe they will be treated differently after their diagnosis is widely known, which can be humiliating for seniors who are still in the earliest stages of cognitive decline. Caregivers can get unwilling seniors to cooperate by ensuring they’ll divulge the information in the most sensitive manner possible.

Alzheimer’s disease can also affect your loved one’s ability to perform daily tasks independently, and you may need to hire a professional caregiver to help him or her manage these tasks. In Omaha, home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Prepare the Speech

When it’s time to share the diagnosis, don’t go into the conversation without preparation. You should be able to effectively answer any questions about the condition, ranging from what it is to how it will affect your parent’s mental state. By giving family members the necessary information, you can better prepare them for the progression of Alzheimer’s. You should also provide tips on how to interact with seniors with Alzheimer’s, as it can facilitate more harmonious relationships going forward. 

Get Help

Caring for a senior with Alzheimer’s can be challenging. Don’t be afraid to ask family members for support, but be clear about what types of help would be useful. This assistance could take the form of grocery shopping, trips to the doctor’s office, prescription pickup, and meal preparation. By providing clear guidelines, you are more likely to get the help you need. 

Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease can benefit from professional in-home care. If your senior loved one needs hourly or live-in care, Omaha Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers can assist with exercise and mobility, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with a wide array of other important daily tasks.

Tailor the Conversation

While you will primarily be breaking the news to other adult family members, you may also be tasked with explaining the condition to children. When talking to children about Alzheimer’s, don’t be afraid to give accurate answers, but these answers should be simplified for the child’s understanding. If the child asks why Grandma can no longer remember her name, explain that she has a brain disease that makes her forget. If the child wonders why Granddad has sudden mood swings, explain that the brain disease affects his emotions, and that no one is at fault. Short, clear explanations are always best. 

Make It Easier

Family members may have a difficult time accepting the diagnosis. You can act as intermediaries when family members are interacting with your loved one, showing by example how best to interact with a senior with Alzheimer’s. For family members who are truly uncomfortable, don’t force the issue and give them time to accept the diagnosis.

If you need help caring for your loved one while he or she manages the challenges of Alzheimer’s, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Omaha, Nebraska, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. If your loved one needs high-quality in-home care, contact us at (402) 261-5158 today.