Activities for people with Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s is one disease that has no known cure for it yet. Hopefully in the future there will be, or at least better control of it. It’s a disease that ravishes the mind and gets worse as time goes by.
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most debilitating diseases known to man and it affects not only one area or one system but all systems in the body. Of course, since it is a progressive disease, effects on the various systems of the body do not happen all at once.
As Alzheimer’s disease progresses, the effects become wide-ranging and the person may lose control of many of the body’s functions.
Alzheimer’s disease is perhaps the best-known disease under Dementia, a disorder that affects the mental processes. It is characterized by the progressive loss of memory that may lead to inattention and inability to focus at a task, language problems and behavioral changes.
Patients with Alzheimer’s disease for instance, may initially find themselves at a loss for words or unable to remember some bits of facts that happened the day before. But as the days progress, they will find themselves starting to forget important things like their addresses, their age and sometimes even their names.
Patients who are in the later stages of Alzheimer’s will start to forget how to do routine things like brushing their teeth, taking a bath or using their utensils. Some may quit speaking altogether because they will often forget the words that they should be using or saying. Some will also behave differently, brought on by the frustration of not being able to do the things that they used to do. Often times, patients at the later stages will become dependents, acting like children who do not know what to do with themselves.
Although there are medicines that can slow down the progress of the disease, especially if discovered early on, there is no solution to the problem. Once you get Alzheimer’s, it is there for life and there is no chance of it disappearing or being cured.
Like medicines, there are some activities that according to scientists can slow down the progression of the disease. Below are a few of them:
Something as simple as reading the newspaper everyday and keeping your mind informed with the latest news is already something that can prevent the disease from settling in. Just make it a point to use your brain. Be an analytical reader and raise questions and do not just absorb the texts and then forget about it. Being an active reader and allowing your imagination free reign will go a long way for exercising the brain. In fact, studies have shown that people who love to read are less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Another mental exercise that people with Alzheimer’s do to help slow down the process is to answer puzzles such as word hunts, cross words and even Sudoku. The more that you use your brain, the better will be your prognosis. Answering word games will also make sure that you practice words and increase your vocabulary, making it less likely for you to forget words and language.
Being old does not mean that you cannot learn. Patients with Alzheimer’s should make it a point to learn something new. This will exercise their brains. Creative tasks such as arts and crafts are another way to tap into the brain’s resources without tiring them out. Learning a new thing also gives people with Alzheimer’s the sense of purpose that they have lost since they were diagnosed with the disease.
It can be frustrating being a caregiver
One of the side effects of Alzheimer’s is the stress on the person taking of them in the latter stages of the disease. It can be a tremendous strain having to deal with some people with the disease. Some ordinary everyday tasks like brushing your teeth can be a nightmare.
Imagine spending a half hour trying to get a person with Alzheimer’s disease to do a simple task like this. They may not know how to even pick up the toothbrush and put toothpaste on it. They may not know how to brush their teeth or even how to put the toothbrush brush in their mouth. I could go on, but my first hand experience in such a simple task and many other likewise easy to do daily living tasks can tax the patience of a caregiver.
Not all those with Alzheimer’s exhibit the same problems or symptoms, but regardless, as time goes by most will start showing more symptoms or problems doing ordinary things. Expect this and learn to deal with it if you care for someone with the disease. Keep an open mind, for you never know, it could happen to anyone, including you.