Unless you’re a doctor, you should not be diagnosing yourself or anyone else in your family with Alzheimer’s or any other type of dementia. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t witness, and be aware of, some of the early symptoms of this disease in your mother, father, spouse, or other loved one. The earlier a person is properly diagnosed, the earlier proper treatment can start. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are many treatment options available that can help bring comfort and potentially even slow down or mitigate some of the symptoms as they progress. They can also have the care they need, provided by 24-hour home care.
Trying to convince an elderly loved one to get to their doctor to be properly tested for Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia can feel like pulling teeth. How do you help this aging senior not only recognize the importance of early diagnosis, but also consider what may come afterward, which may include 24-hour home care or other types of in-home support?
Mention what you and their 24-hour home care aides observe.
Maybe you’ve noticed your elderly father using the wrong word at times in conversation. This may not seem like a big deal, but if it is out of character for him, something he never really did before, and he is completely unaware he is doing now, that might very well be a symptom of Alzheimer’s.
If your elderly mother is forgetting about appointments, leaving things on the stove and forgetting all about them, mention these observations. Don’t do it in an accusatory tone, though, but just as a means of trying to help her or him see that these aren’t isolated incidences; they are happening more and more frequently.
You can do a great deal of good by being as patient as possible while this aging person works their way through their fears. Make no mistake, most seniors exhibiting the early signs of Alzheimer’s recognize what is happening. They worry it could be Alzheimer’s, and they don’t want to hear those dreaded words.
It might take several weeks or even a couple of months to coax your loved one to visit their doctor, but don’t get angry if they keep pushing back right now. They will get there, so remain patient.
Listen to what they say.
You can learn a lot about what somebody’s thinking, feeling, and fearing by what they say. Unfortunately, when we know we are right, we have a tendency to shut off those listening skills. Take time to listen to what they say. It could very well give you the perfect answer that can help encourage them to get to their doctor.
Enlist the help of close friends of theirs.
Sometimes, people don’t want to listen to family. But, they may be more willing to listen to a best friend, a confidant, somebody they have entrusted with secrets and personal information they had never even told you about in the past. If this friend of theirs also recognizes the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s and knows they should get to the doctor, that elderly individual may just listen to that close friend before they listen to you, even if you are a spouse, adult child, or other family member.