Living with Alzheimer's Disease
Many Alameda, Contra Costa and Sacramento residents who receive early onset diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease often become depressed. It is extremely important to understand that Alzheimer's is not a death sentence; that life isn't over; and, although your life will change as the dementia progresses, you can still have a meaningful and productive life in your California home.
How YOU Can Cope with Alzheimer's
- It is very normal to experience feelings of denial, fear, frustration, and loss.
Learning practical coping strategies can help you care for and overcome these emotions.
Some strategies include writing in a journal about your feelings and experiences,
joining a support group, seeing a counselor in Berkeley, speaking with a clergy member or someone
who can help with you spiritually, and sharing your feelings with friends and family.
- Look after your health. Visit your doctor regularly and follow recommendations about
diet, exercise and medications.
- Exercising regularly has proven to reduce mental decline in Alzheimer's disease,
maintain motor and communication skills while enhancing positive perspectives on
- Every day, do something you enjoy every day. Set aside time each day for an activity that brings
you pleasure. A little pampering in a day spa in Folsom, Roseville or even Napa can go a long way in warding off depression, frustrations,
and fears. Practicing a hobby, taking a bath, even socializing with friends will
uplift your spirits and improve your wellbeing.
Spending Time with Your Family and Friends
- Talk openly with family members regarding important issues such as finances and
future caregiving needs. Discuss household responsibilities, child‑rearing,
and sexual intimacy with your spouse. You may also suggest that your spouse join
a caregiver support group.
- Share with your children information about Alzheimer's disease and the symptoms
you are experiencing. Encourage your children to join support groups and include
them when making decisions that affect the family. Consider recording your thoughts,
feelings, and memories so they can be passed down to your children.
- Spending time with friends may now come with some anxiety, but avoidance can be
harmful to your relationships as well as your wellbeing. Friends are often able
to provide support, willing to attend educational programs about Alzheimer's
disease, and can help you stay active in your community. Simply confiding in your
friends about your experience of living with Alzheimer's often brings a sense
- A Better Living Home Care Agency will be able to assist your friends and family in finding a support group in Contra Costa, Alameda and Sacramento counties.
Your Career while Coping with Alzheimer's
- Many people are still working in careers when they are diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
If this is your situation, start making decisions about eventual changes in your
- If you are comfortable informing your employer about your Alzheimer's diagnosis
alone, speak with her or him as soon as you are ready. You may want to bring Alzheimer's
literature with you for your employer to read. If you are not comfortable speaking
to your employer alone, bring someone with you to help explain your situation. You
may also want to discuss with your employer who else should know of your condition
then inform those co‑works and clients when you are ready.
- Consider speaking with your employer about an eventual change in position that may
better suite your abilities.
- Consider reducing your work hours over time. Ask your employer to work with you
on revising your schedule to suite your changing strengths and abilities.
- Discuss with your doctor the length of time you may be able to continue working.
- Explain to your co‑workers that you may experience frustration when you cannot
recall information or have trouble communicating ideas. Share any concerns you may
have about becoming frustrated with yourself or frustrating to your co‑workers.
This often helps to reduce levels of frustration and increase everyone's ability
to be patient in the future.
- To help you remember meetings, important dates, and other events that make performing
your job effectively, write yourself reminders, memos, and keep a calendar of appointments
- Look into early retirement options. Also research employee benefits that may be
available to you and how to file a claim. Contact your company's HR department
- Start looking for activities, such as hobbies, to take the place of your job.
Effectively Managing Memory Loss
- Record important phone numbers and place them next to the phone. Write the phone
numbers in bold or large print as a visual cue.
- Place sticky notes, labels, even photos around the house to help you remember contents
in drawers, rooms, and to point out directions to objects and rooms.
- Calendar important dates and appointments.
- Ask a friend or family member to remind you of things you need to do such as when
to take medication, eat meals, or go to appointments.
- Keep your brain brain as active as possible. Resent memory loss research suggests that challenging the
brain may slow on‑set dementia. Engage in mind stimulating activities such
as learning new skills, playing games, reading, and even gardening.
- Exercise frequently. Some experts suggest that regular exercise may help maintain
blood flow to the brain and reduce risk factors associated with dementia.
How you Can Avoid Getting Lost
- Bring directions of where you are going every time you go out.
- Ask a friend or family member to go with you.
- If you do get lost, ask someone to help you. Explain to him or her that you have
a memory problem.
Driving a Car with Alzheimer's
- If you are not sure you should be driving, visit your local Department of Motor
Vehicles for an assessment of your driving skills.
- Drive only to familiar locations. For instance, driving out of Vallejo from Sacramento may not be a good idea. If there is really a need for you to drive, make sure you have someone to come with you.
- Consider taking alternative transportation.
- When it is no longer safe to drive, ask someone else to drive you or use local transportation
Financial Planning with Alzheimer's Disease
- For your own security and that of your family, begin planning immediately. Alzheimer's
disease increasing worsens over time so there is no better time than right now the
to begin formulating your financial future.
- There are professional financial managers and medical lawyers lawyers in Sacramento, the Bay Area and Alameda county who deal with financial
planning for people with long‑term or progressive illnesses. Ask your doctor
for a referral, or speak with a national association or support group to find a
reputable professional in Northern California.
- If you are insured, either through your employer or a retirement policy, read all
of the policies pertaining to long‑term/progressive illnesses. If you are
unsure about the language or terminology, contact the personnel department or your
- If you are unemployed and you do not have coverage, you should look for the highest
level of coverage that you can afford. The Alzheimer's Association may be able
to give you a list of insurers with a high level of Alzheimer's coverage.
- If you are 65 or over, you qualify for Medicare. You can supplement this insurance
with a “Medigap” policy available through a private insurer. Note also
that many states have prescription assistance/reimbursement programs for low‑income
- If you are disabled but too young to qualify for Social Security, you may be eligible
to receive a form of Medicare for the disabled. You should also consider state run disability programs, unless you are enrolled in your employer's disability coverage.
- If you cannot get insurance and your income is low, you may qualify for Medicaid,
a government “safety net” program that pays for medical costs that exceed
a person's ability to pay. You may also check the California Department of Health Care Services for more medical support options.
- Check to see if your employer has private disability insurance, and contact your
human resources department to investigate your eligibility, the cost of enrolling,
and how much of your salary it will cover.
- If you are too young to qualify for Social Security, you should consider state‑run
disability programs, unless you are enrolled in your employer's disability coverage.
- If your total income is below a certain level, you may qualify for federally subsidized
Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If you collect SSI, regardless of your age,
you are a candidate for Medicaid.
Keep in mind that we are committed to providing support, assistance, and compassionate care to every dementia patient in the Bay Area, Hayward, Concorde, and other surrounding
cities we serve in Northern California.
If you or a member of your family has been diagnosed with dementia, or you are looking for information on how to cope with Alzheimer’s Disease, contact us at A Better Living Home Care Agency today.
Learn more about Alzheimer's Disease
& Dementia Safe Environments
Managing Wandering with Alzheimer's