Living with Alzheimer’s Disease
Emma wakes up and starts preparing for the day – she’s ready for another successful day at the office. Her assistant walks in, and Emma tells her to make sure the reports are on her desk by Friday. The assistant smiles and assures Emma that they will be.
But Emma isn’t at work. She is in a memory care community, and she has Alzheimer’s disease.
About 5.7 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s every day. Their loving family members and caregivers work tirelessly to provide care and comfort. During National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, we commend them and bring to light information and issues surrounding this illness.
A day with Alzheimer’s disease
An average day for someone with Alzheimer’s disease differs from person to person. It all depends on where they are at with the disease, according to Brock Crosby, Executive Director of the Arbor at Bremerton, a 64-bed memory care community in Bremerton, Washington.
Typically, they start their day as everyone else does: getting ready for the day followed by breakfast. Some may be independent with their morning routine, others may need cues or full assistance. After breakfast many will linger in the dining room and socialize over a cup of coffee. Then it’s off to the morning activity that includes current events and trivia.
Everyone’s daily routine is different based on how his or her dementia presents itself. One individual might have a deficit with their short-term memory; they want to know why they haven’t had breakfast five minutes after they’ve cleaned their plate. One might be living in the past and think they’re running a hotel and try to ‘help’ the staff. As the disease progresses, they might be unable to hold a conversation.
To help their residents find peace in their new reality, caregivers are taught not correct a resident, but join them in their world. Correcting what a resident feels to be real to them is a disservice to them, according to Crosby.
“Each person has their own reality,” Crosby said. “Our caregivers live in their reality.”
Embracing each resident’s world is crucial to helping them not only navigate their daily lives, but to find joy as well.
In addition, caregivers help residents at the Arbor in Bremerton stay active both mentally and physically through the Life Enrichment Program. This program provides current events, trivia, word games, and puzzles to stimulate their minds. Chair-based physical activities such as bowling, kickball, and noodle tennis keeps their bodies moving and helps prevent falls.
While Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, caregivers strive to provide each resident quality of life that allows them to stay active, alert, and comfortable.
Support for Alzheimer’s Disease
Whether you live with Alzheimer’s or have a loved one with the illness, you don’t have to face this alone. Here are a few resources for education and support.
The Alzheimer’s Association provides support, research, and local resources to help family caregivers and individuals with the disease. With this resource you can find out the signs of Alzheimer’s, learn treatment options, and find support groups near you.
Alzheimers.gov is a U.S. government portal for information on Alzheimer’s from the National Institute on Aging. Get answers about Alzheimer’s, stay up to date on research, and find resources for healthcare professionals.
The BrightFocus Foundation offers resources for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease as well as their family members. Turn to this resource to understand Alzheimer’s disease, find out how to keep an active mind, and learn how to care for someone with Alzheimer’s.
Find all our community locations that support memory care here.
Editor’s note: These organizations are not affiliated with the Avamere Family of Companies.