CambridgeACT on Alzheimer’s: Ideas to help a family living with Alzheimer’s

The CambridgeACT on Alzheimer’s Survey Team

In an effort to raise awareness, educate our community and reduce the stigma that surrounds Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, it is important to understand and be knowledgeable about how we as a community can reach out and support families living with and caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease.

Sometimes we want to reach out and offer support, but are afraid we may say or do the wrong thing, so we do nothing, or avoid our neighbors and friends dealing with Alzheimer’s. It may help to be aware of these common experiences shared by the Alzheimer’s Association. ACT-Horiz-Cambridge (3)

The person with Alzheimer’s likely:

• Is adjusting to new schedules and changing roles.

• Welcomes your direct contact.

• Worries about overwhelming family caregivers.

• Strives to keep an active, independent lifestyle.

Family members often:

• Feel alone and disconnected from friends.

• Need assistance or a break but hesitate to ask.

• Struggle to run errands or complete daily tasks

• Feel high stress and welcome a good listener

The Alzheimer’s Association outlines 10 ways to help a family living with Alzheimer’s disease. Here is their list of ideas.

1. Stay in touch – show you care: A card, a call or a visit all mean a lot.

2. Treat the person with respect and dignity: Focus on all that the person can do.

3. Do the little things: Drop off dinner or run an errand.

4. Be specific when offering help: Tackle a task on the family’s to do list.

5. Educate yourself about Alzheimer’s: Learn about its effects and how to respond.

6. Include everyone in activities: Plan an enjoyable outing or dinner at your place; include the person whenever possible.

7. Be a good listener: Support and accept — try not to judge.

8. Encourage a healthy lifestyle: Suggest practical tips to exercise and eat right.

9. Allow the family some personal time: Fill in as a caregiver, when needed.

10. Keep all family members in mind: From tots to elders, each reacts uniquely.

These are powerful and effective ways to support and care for families who are living with Alzheimer’s.

“Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey. At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.” ~Vera Nazarian

For more information about the CambridgeACT on Alzheimer’s call Julie Tooker at 763-691-6192. For information about local resources contact Jayne Mund at 763-552-3255.

Your input and assistance is valuable. Let’s ACT together to create and sustain a dementia friendly community. There is Hope. There is Help.

Resource: 10 ways to help a family living with Alzheimer’s from the Alzheimer’s Association.