What if My Loved One with Alzheimer’s Doesn’t Recognize Me?
By Chris Cruse 9 am on
The memory changes that occur with Alzheimer’s can eventually lead to the point where your senior loved one no longer recognizes you. Once you’ve ruled out other health conditions (such as vision loss) that can cause similar symptoms, your next step is to find ways to manage the issue. Realizing your loved one has no idea who you are can be overwhelming, and it can lead to combativeness on your loved one’s part if he or she begins to feel fearful. The days, weeks, and months following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be challenging for both seniors and their families. However, these challenges can be made less stressful with the help of caregivers trained in professional Alzheimer’s care. Des Moines Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one enjoy the golden years while simultaneously managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.Using appropriate strategies like the ones listed below can ease the situation and help you maintain a closer connection to your loved one.
Create an Environment that Stimulates Memories
Seniors with Alzheimer’s benefit from being surrounded by things that jog their memories. For example, being able to age in place is easier for seniors who need to see familiar objects in their living spaces. You can also preserve memories by placing photos near your loved one that depict important members of his or her care team. While your parent may still not fully remember you, seeing an image of you on the wall could help him or her feel reassured that your presence is welcome.
Know How to Make a Gentle Introduction
In the middle to late stages of Alzheimer’s, your loved one may have periods of lucidity mixed with incoherence. If he or she seems confused by your presence, start by making a simple introduction as you would with anyone else. You can state your name and a brief reminder of your relationship, such as mentioning you’re his or her grandchild. Then see how your loved one responds. Noticing whether he or she seems reassured or agitated will guide your next steps.
Accept Your Loved One’s Level of Awareness
Never try to force your loved one to remember who you are. Insisting that your parent should know your name or acting offended can only upset him or her further. Seniors with Alzheimer’s still retain the ability to feel emotions such as embarrassment or shame. Instead of insisting your loved one try to remember you, simply accept his or her current understanding. Your loved one may remember you later, or he or she may not. Either way, your goal is to meet his or her needs.Caring for senior loved ones can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home CareAssistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
Find Ways to Manage Agitation
One of the most challenging situations caregivers can face is realizing their presence upsets their loved ones. Try to remember your loved one’s agitation has nothing to do with his or her relationship with you. Instead, your parent is reacting as if he or she has encountered a stranger in the house. Use soothing words, and keep your body language as relaxed as possible. You might need to leave the room for a few minutes to calm your loved one down. Sometimes coming back just a few minutes later is all it takes to get a different response.
Be Willing to Enter Your Loved One’s World
Taking advantage of the times when your loved one is receptive to your involvement helps you strengthen your relationship. Let your loved one share stories and memories, even if you doubt their validity. Being willing to take your loved one as he or she is and continue to demonstrate love is the best way to help him or her understand your bond, whether he or she recognizes your face or not.A professional caregiver with expertise in caring for seniors with Alzheimer’s can be a wonderful source of support for your whole family. There are many reasons seniors might need assistance at home. Some may require regular mental stimulation due to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, while others might only need part-time assistance with exercise and basic household tasks. Home Care Assistance is a leading Des Moines in-home care provider. Families rely on our expertly trained caregivers to help their senior loved ones maintain a high quality of life. For more information about our flexible, customizable home care plans, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (515) 264-2438.