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A Caregivers Toolkit for Managing Alzheimer's Symptoms

By Dr. Bassel Kazkaz



For many reasons, Alzheimer’s may be one of the most frustrating yet prevalent diseases of our time. The symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s range from cognitive mental decline and memory loss, to behavioral, mood, and whole body changes. Alzheimer’s disease is the progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle, or old age, due to generalized degeneration of the brain. While many stay hopeful that progressive research will find a cure for this disease, the impact on those affected, as well as their loved ones and caregivers continue to remain an emotional and physically intense battle.      

Alzheimer’s may take a devastating toll on caregivers due to the emotional, financial, and physical difficulties that accompany this disease. While patients suffering from Alzheimer’s should consult with a neurologist and care team to receive a treatment plan most suitable to their condition, it is still essential that caregivers, family members, or merely someone who cares about a person with Alzheimer’s, has additional resources that can help manage and better understand this condition.

There are a variety of techniques and resources available to help manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s. Activities are important because while they don’t necessarily slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, they can improve quality of life. Activities may also relieve frustration by keeping the person suffering from Alzheimer’s stimulated, and foster an emotional connection or self-expression.

Here is a recommended list of activities to try:

1. Hobbies and Crafts

Simplify old hobbies such as larger pieced jigsaw puzzles, garden together, or find his/her inner artist.

2. Exercise

Talk a walk, go for a swim, participate in yoga, or visit a museum.

3. Games

Play sorting games like baseball card organization, toss a Frisbee, solve puzzles or go on a shopping scavenger hunt.

4. Daily Tasks and Chores

Read, bake, and clean up together. This helps your loved one feel like they’re part of a team with tasks to complete.

5. Help Others

Starting a food or toy drive can help your loved one combat feelings of uselessness.

6. Reminisce

Chat about old times, watch family videos, go through photo albums, and write down family stories.

7. Music

Sing along and dance, this can help trigger old memories.

8. Pets

They provide comfort and unconditional love.

9. Sensory

Comb her hair, shave his face, tell stories, or give a manicure to help your loved one retain all of their senses.

These activities both relieve symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s and create enjoyable gatherings and memories for loved ones to share.

If you have reason to believe you, or someone you know, is exhibiting symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, please schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or neurologist. For information on our services, please visit www.dupagemedicalgroup.com/services/.

For additional resources on Alzheimer’s disease, visit www.alz.org.



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