Personality changes are one part of Alzheimer's that family caregivers are not prepared for. When they hit, they can leave you feeling sad, angry, and anxious. When you have a mom or dad depending on you for some daily care, you have to shove aside the emotions and save them for a time when you're alone. Here are tips you can use to prepare yourself for the personality changes that go hand in hand with Alzheimer's.
Repeat “It's the Disease” as Your Mantra
You have to remember that the mood swings, depression, and apathy your parent experiences are the disease. You haven't done something to trigger that mood. If your mom is angry with you, it's the disease. If your mom suddenly hates a meal she just asked you to cook, it's not your cooking.
There's nothing that can stop the personality changes from happening. As the brain function deteriorates, you'll experience differences. Your mom may snap at you for no apparent reason. She may be extra sweet to your brother while calling you names. You just always have to blame Alzheimer's and not your mom.
Remember That She'll Forget Anything That Happened
Your mom just blew up at you. She called you names, pushed you away, and stormed off. Give her 10 minutes or less. She won't even remember many details if she even remembers something happened.
You can't bring it up later. She won't remember. Once she's forgotten, put it out of your mind as best you can.
Lie When Necessary
Sometimes, the best way to avoid conflict is to lie. If your mom is convinced the neighbor stole her lawn mower, go along with the story and tell her you contacted the authorities. If she's convinced she's out of sugar, even though you found a bag in the cupboard, tell her you'll buy some later.
You may need to go into the past with some of her frustrations. If she's upset that her sister took her jacket and you know her sister died, tell her you'll call her sister and get it returned. Don't try to correct her. It will only add fuel to her frustrations.
Be Prepared to Take Breaks
For your own sanity, you'll need to take breaks. Leave your mom's house. To do this, hire an elder care professional to sit with your mom. Go out with friends, go shopping, or go to the movies. You need to do this at least once a week.
Caregivers are prepared to help your mom with meals, grooming, and housekeeping. You don't have to hand over all of your mom's care to a caregiver, but you want to let the caregiver lighten your load. Call an elder care agency to discuss the services that help with Alzheimer's care.
If you or an aging loved one is considering elder care in Chandler, AZ, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare today: 480-377-6770.