Lots of help offered for Alzheimer's caregiving
|||Light within the dark|
The Aloha Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association offers a number of resources to help families struggling with a loved one's decline into Alzheimer's disease.
The schedule is available at www.alz.org/hawaii. Reservations: 591-2771.
"You have to almost become an Indiana Jones of the brain," says Janet Eli, the association's president and CEO. Sometimes, physical discomfort can bring on unpleasant behavior in a patient, and Eli says family members might try to ask if they're hurting, or what the matter is.
"Another problem could be the environment — too hot, too cold, too bright, too dark," she says. "Shadows make them think there are ghosts coming to hurt them."
Alzheimer's patients are moving backward in time, says Eli, and their current environment may look totally unfamiliar.
"The noise of the TV, music, all of this can cause disorientation and result in behavior outbursts," she says. "Sometimes loved ones try to orient them toward the present saying 'No, you live here now, sweetheart,' and if she says 'I want to go home,' you can say 'I remember your home ... I loved those lace curtains' and let her go off into describing a comfortable memory."
Reach Beverly Creamer at firstname.lastname@example.org.