How to cope if your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia

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When a family member is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, the effect on your entire family can be overwhelming.

The diagnosis can trigger a range of emotions — including anger, fear, frustration and sadness.

You need to understand the possible causes of agitation and aggression related to Alzheimer’s, and learn how to respond to troubling behavior.

You need to take steps to protect belongings while letting a person with Alzheimer’s rummage through drawers and other storage areas.

Also you should learn how to make changes at home to discourage someone with Alzheimer’s disease from wandering and how to react and keep things calm when a person with Alzheimer’s experiences hallucinations, delusions, or paranoia.

Many people with Alzheimer’s disease have sundowning—restlessness or agitation in the late afternoon and early evening. They may need help to manage their sleep problems.

You also need to cope with personality and behavior changes, such as pacing or feeling sad, that are common in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Last but not least, you need to improve verbal and nonverbal communication with a person with Alzheimer’s disease.

Remember that dementia can change many aspects of a relationship, but not the need for love and affection.

To see how families live with Alzheimer’s and related dementia, check this video:

If you care about Alzheimer’s, please read studies that healthy blood vessels may be key to preventing Alzheimer’s disease, and what you should know about extra-virgin olive oil and Alzheimer’s disease.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about how to use a healthy lifestyle to prevent dementia, and results showing COVID-19 may cause Alzheimer’s disease-like dementia.