Our natural instinct when suspecting the early stages of potential cognitive decline in ourselves or a senior loved one is to look the other way, denying the problem. However, the Alzheimer’s Association advises that it’s crucial to face the issue head-on as soon as possible, as early diagnosis and intervention allow for the most effective treatment plan for dementia to be implemented.
Yet, more than 75% of those surveyed in a recent study stated that they would fear offending a loved one by approaching him or her about cognitive concerns they’ve noticed. Nearly 40% would put off speaking with their loved one until the symptoms worsened. And as many as 30% would never bring up the subject at all.
Part of the problem lies in knowing how to sensitively and effectively convey your concerns to a senior loved one. The Alzheimer’s Association offers several tips that can help, including:
- Determine the most appropriate person to start the conversation.
- Try opening the conversation with something like the following:
- “Would you want me to say something if I ever noticed any changes in your behavior that worried me?”
- “I’ve noticed a few changes in your behavior lately, and I wanted to see if you’ve noticed these changes as well.”
- “Lately I’ve been considering my own long-term care plans, and I wanted to see if you’ve done any advance planning you can share with me.”
- Understand that it may take more than one conversation before the person is willing to accept the need to see the doctor about the problems you’re noticing. Often, the person in the early stages of Alzheimer’s will not self-recognize warning signs, and may respond with denial, agitation, and defensiveness.
- If the senior continues to refuse help, contact the doctor yourself and relay your concerns. And reassure the senior that you’re available to provide support in whatever way he or she needs or desires.
For more Alzheimer’s communication tips and specialized in-home care, contact the dementia care team at Atlanta Home Care Partners. Our Dunwoody caregivers are trained and experienced in providing compassionate, effective care and assistance with managing some of the more challenging aspects of Alzheimer’s disease, such as wandering, aggression, inappropriate behaviors, sundowning, and more. We provide family members peace of mind in knowing their loved one is receiving the highest possible quality care at all times. Call us at (404) 228-0103 or contact us online to learn more about our services and how we provide the best home care Dunwoody has to offer.