When you’re young it’s hard to imagine your parents aging, slowing down and even becoming vulnerable. Often it happens slowly over time, so much so that you may not notice all those warning signs that pop up along the way. This can leave you in a perpetual state of denial that your parent is indeed aging, so when they get diagnosed with a serious disease such as Alzheimer’s, it can come as a real shock. If this is where you’re at, and you suspect your parent has Alzheimer’s disease and you’re having a hard time coping, these tips can prove to be very useful.
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Start with an Official Diagnosis
Before you get too far ahead of yourself, it’s wise to start with the facts. This Alzheimer’s disease quiz which Belmont Village Senior Living has posted on its site can help to determine if warning signs and early symptoms are being shown by your parent. The results of the quiz can be a big indicator that it’s time for your parent to visit the doctor and get an official diagnosis rather than making guesses and assuming you know what may or may not be happening. Visiting the doctor will also give you a chance to ask questions, learn more about their diagnosis and determine the path forward.
Learn About Alzheimer’s – Do Your Research
This is a great opportunity to do some independent research and learn as much as you can about Alzheimer’s disease. People often think they know all there is to know, which is far from the truth. Be sure to use trusted sources for your information such as the Alzheimer’s Association. You want to be able to understand what it is your parent is going through so you can best support them.
It’s Okay to Go Through a Grieving Process
Families often explain that they feel like they are grieving a loss after the diagnosis, and that is normal and okay. There’s no doubt you’ll be going through all kinds of emotions in those early days and the weeks and months to follow. You may feel sad, lonely, depressed, angry, frustrated, embarrassed and so many other emotions.
Some of the best ways to cope with those emotions are to get them out by talking to your family and friends, joining a family support group, and speaking to your doctor about how you’re feeling. You aren’t alone and that needs to be emphasized.
It’s Time to Set Realistic Expectations
This is a very hard step for many, but it can be useful in the coping process. It’s time to set realistic expectations for your parent. They have a disease that is not their fault and that they cannot control. It’s going to affect them daily and it will progress. The goal should be to give your parents love and support, helping them to feel as independent as possible. It will also be important to ensure they are safe and secure, which could mean moving them into a senior care facility.
Coping with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis isn’t easy and it’s not something you’ll just get over in a couple of days. It will be a new way of life and you must recognize the emotions you’re feeling.