There are many challenges that seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease face on a daily basis. From memory loss to diminished cognitive functioning to the loss of independence that they once valued. As a family caregiver, however, it is important that you acknowledge that these are not the only challenges that these seniors face. One of the greatest difficulties facing people who are living with this disease is the stigma.
Stigma about dementia is unfortunately still very present in today’s society. This is not just hurtful, but can lead to a variety of serious issues for those living with the disease, including:
- Less likely to seek out diagnosis, which can prevent them from getting on the course of treatment and management that is right for them as soon as possible.
- Being taken less seriously by family, friends, and even medical professionals so they do not get the care that is right for them and suffer diminished quality of life.
- Strain friendships and relationships with family members due to discomfort or denial.
- Disrespect and disconnect caused by people speaking to you about your parent rather than them speaking to your parent.
- Being mistreated, ignored, or overlooked due to the diagnosis, and therefore unable to enjoy things the way that they used to.
Some ways that you can help to fight Alzheimer’s disease stigma include:
- Educate yourself as much as you can about the disease and its reality so that you can correct the misinformed.
- Be upfront about your parent’s diagnosis and what they are going through. Do not be afraid to talk about it or ashamed of what they are going through.
- Be an advocate for research and better treatments.
- Participate in support groups that allow you to benefit from others going through the same thing, and help others with your experiences as well.
- Ensure that people speak to your parent and acknowledge them as an individual rather than always deferring to you.
- Point out when there are changes that can be made to environments, care, or your parent’s treatment.
Being a family caregiver can be stressful and challenging, but home care can help. Starting care for your aging parent can be an exceptional way to encourage your loved one to live the highest quality of life possible as they age in place. These highly personalized services are designed specifically to address your parent’s individual needs and challenges in the ways that are right for them. This can help them to stay happy, healthy, comfortable, and safe, while also supporting independence, activity, and fulfillment throughout their later years. As a family caregiver this can give you confidence that whether you are able to be with your parent or not, your senior is getting everything that they need. This can ease your stress and allow you to take a step back and focus more energy and attention on the other obligations and needs such as your children, your marriage, your career, and yourself.