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Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month

Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month - Managing Lifestyle Changes

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month which is why we want to take the time to dive into understanding this disease and what lifestyle changes occur when you or someone you know is living with Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects memory, thinking and behavior. As the disease progresses, it necessitates significant lifestyle changes for both the person with Alzheimer’s and their family/caregivers. Managing these changes can be challenging, but with the right strategies in place, it’s possible to maintain a good quality of life and foster a supportive environment. Here are some key aspects to consider:


Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease typically progresses through several stages, each characterized by increasing cognitive decline and changes in daily functioning. Early-stage Alzheimer’s may involve mild memory loss and difficulty finding words, while late-stage Alzheimer’s can result in severe cognitive impairment and a need for full-time care. Understanding the progression helps in planning for and adapting to lifestyle changes effectively.


Creating a Safe Living Environment

Safety is paramount for individuals with Alzheimer’s. Some tips for creating a safe home environment include removing hazards, installing safety devices and simplifying navigation. Clearing the home of tripping hazards such as loose rugs and clutter as well as ensuring there is good lighting throughout the house are key. Use locks on cabinets containing dangerous items and install grab bars in the bathroom. Label rooms and objects clearly. Use color contrast for better visibility and simplify the layout to make navigation easier.


Establishing a Routine

A consistent daily routine can provide a sense of stability and reduce anxiety for someone with Alzheimer’s. Structured activities at the same time each day that include tasks that the person enjoys and can do independently or with minimal assistance is a wonderful way to set a routine. Having a balanced schedule that’s a mix of physical, mental and social activities is great! Try incorporating regular meal times, rest periods and recreational activities. While routine is important, be flexible, patient, allow extra time for tasks and be ready to adapt to the schedule as needed.


Promoting Physical Health & Medical Care

Physical health plays a crucial role in managing Alzheimer’s disease. Encouraging regular light to moderate exercise, such as walking, swimming or yoga is a great way to promote optimal physical health. Exercise can improve mood, help maintain mobility and support overall health. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats, along with adequate hydration will also play a large role in one’s physical condition. Regular medical check-ups are essential. Manage chronic conditions, follow medication schedules and consult healthcare providers for any changes in behavior or health.


Supporting Mental and Emotional Well-being

Emotional support and mental stimulation are key for individuals with Alzheimer’s. Cognitive activities that stimulate the brain, such as puzzles, reading, music and art are vital. Tailor activities to the person’s interests and abilities to increase enjoyment! Social interaction can also reduce feelings of isolation and improve mood so it’s important to foster social connections through family visits, community activities or support groups. Be patient, listen and provide reassurance. Positive reinforcement and validation help the person feel understood and valued.


Caregiver Support and Self-Care

Caregivers play a crucial role in managing Alzheimer’s disease but often face physical and emotional stress. Caregiver support is essential to maintaining quality mental well-being. Some things to promote this include education and training, respite care and self-care practices. Learn about Alzheimer’s disease and caregiving strategies by attending support groups or workshops to gain insights and share experiences. Utilize respite care services to take breaks and enlist the help of family, friends or professional caregivers to share responsibilities. Prioritizing your own health by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, seeking emotional support and taking time for activities you enjoy will help contribute to overall well-being.


Final Thoughts

Managing lifestyle changes with Alzheimer’s disease requires a well-rounded approach that encompasses safety, routine, physical and emotional health, caregiver support and future planning. By implementing these strategies, it’s possible to create a supportive environment that enhances the quality of life for both individuals with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Remember, each person’s experience with Alzheimer’s is unique, so tailor these suggestions to meet individual needs and preferences.

**The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. If you are having a severe and sudden change in physical or mental health, please call 911, contact a local emergency facility or consult with your doctor. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider, and never disregard the advice given because of information you have received from our website.**