Alzheimer’s is not a disease affects one person only, it involves everyone in the family. Together, the family will go through each stage and experience the changing stages of the disease and not everyone will understand or accept the illness the same way, at the same time. Therefore, if possible, incorporating the entire family when establishing the care and treatment plan can result in the more successful situation for the family, and your loved one.
Avoiding Family Conflict
While the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s may bring a family together, it can also create conflict. As the disease progresses the stress levels may rise, which can affect the entire family. Each person will need to learn about, and understand this illness on their own terms, and at their own speed, which can often cause a difference in opinions and emotions.
Remember this is about your loved one and having their needs met. This isn’t about specific needs for each person in the family – the main intention is to find the best course of treatment and care for your loved one. It can be a difficult to process to watch the decline of a loved one that may have once been very active, and even a leader in the family. Getting personal support to process your own emotions is as important as keeping a focus on your loved one.
Here are a few family tips to hopefully avoid conflict.
- Hold regular family meetings to keep everyone on the same page. (This can be done via phone, the internet or in person).
- Have a shared calendar so everyone can see what appointments or events are set up.
- Consider how to divide responsibilities and leverage each other’s strengths. For example, if someone is a lawyer, allow them to take the point on legal issues.
- Establish checks-and-balances for all tasks ahead of time.
- Ask for professional help & support.
- Speak your mind and try to stay open with your feelings. Honesty is the best policy.
Younger children may struggle to comprehend the changing symptoms of the disease, and they may not understand why Grandpa or Grandma no longer remembers who they are. Keep it simple and honest from the beginning, while allowing them to openly ask questions or share their emotions. Don’t over protect them by avoiding the topic; this will only cause further confusion and possibly anger later on.
Connecting Our Family with Yours
At Sundara, we are dedicated to providing a true family level of care. Our staff specializes in memory care, creating a smoother transition for the entire family at any stage of the disease process. We strive to ensure comfort and care for your loved one, while offering a true peace of mind for the family. Visit us online today and arrange a tour, come meet the Sundara Family!