How To Talk About Your Alzheimer's Disease
Ella Traver for ElderThink
A sincere letter to anyone who has discovered he or she has Alzheimer's Disease.
So you've learned you have Alzheimer's and there are people you need to tell. These will be tough times for you, but it's so very important to talk to those you love. Begin by telling those who are closest to you about your disease, and tell them if you need help and how you want to be treated.
Alzheimer's involves changes to your body, to your mind, and to your emotions. You should explain this when you talk to your loved ones because they will have to experience all these changes with you.
See your doctor, take your meds. They will help you.
For some time, you will be doing things for yourself and making your own decisions. This will change and there will be opportunities for them to see when you need help. Alzheimer's has a slow progression.
The mood swings and outbursts that accompany Alzheimer's are often difficult for those who love you. You need to explain to them that when these things happen, it is the disease talking and in your heart you love them dearly.
It will become difficult for you to talk to people because you will forget words or forget the direction your conversation is taking. Your body-language will change too and you will no longer give the subtle signals of love and affection.
In the beginning, you will have difficulty understand subtleties such as jokes. You will lose your train of thought often, and become frustrated with any sort of instructions because they will be hard to follow.
At some point, you will not be able to drive your car safely, and you may not understand why you have to give up driving.
As the disease progresses, you will not be able to understand things you read, you will have trouble following conversations and you may repeat the same phrase or word over and over. You may ramble on about something no one else can understand. You will have trouble recognizing people.
Toward the end, you will not understand or recognize the spoken word and your language will not make sense to others. The greatest gift you can give to those you love, is to prepare them.
Please know that I'm writing this to you because I care. Truly.