Walking daily with a companion is great for an Alzheimer's patient. It can improve communication skills and prevent wandering.
In the early stages of Alzheimer's there are things you can do for your loved one to keep them sharp. Keep calendars in every room. It will help them stay focused and oriented while creating a mental image of the day.
For some patients, bright light therapy reduces insomnia and wandering.
In the early stages of Alzheimer's, to keep the brain active, redecorate and redesign your living environment. Making these changes can form new motor pathways in the brain and encourage new cell growth.
During the healing phase, everyone has to work on healing, not just the patient, because family and supporters are dealing with hospitals, treatment and doctors, as well. This is like the final mile in a 26 mile race, and it requires a lot of patience.
Did you make that massage appointment? Do it now! If a massage is too expensive, just book a $20 manicure and ask them to rub your arms and hands a little bit longer!
Break down your fears into small enough pieces so that they are manageable. For example, if I’m afraid my Mom is going to die, then I ask, what exactly about that do I fear the most? Answer: Living without her memories of our family. Solution: start a journal and co-author with her to capture her story in words and pictures.
Take care of yourself. Make a point to put it in your calendar to take a walk, get an ice cream cone, or a massage. Even if you don’t feel like it, force yourself to take a few minutes a day to pro-actively take care of yourself.
Doctors and hospitals have different access to clinical trials and new therapies. In my mom’s case, I had to find a 2nd opinion from a Lymphoma specialist at a well-respected treatment center who believed that a 79-year-old patient deserved and could tolerate more aggressive treatment when the first line treatment failed.
Ask a specialist for a “standard of care” letter to your primary oncologist for the next treatment options. Example: after radiation failed, my mom’s specialist made a case for chemotherapy that my mom’s primary doctor thought would not work. It bought my mom another 6 months so she could eventually find a clinical trial that, in fact, did work.
Keep the peace. While I stress getting that second, even third opinion, keep the tone of all the interactions between specialists as calm and considerate as possible. You are building a team around your loved one. Your primary doctor still has the discretion (power) to say “no” and make it difficult for insurance to cover additional treatment.
This is where caregiver burnout gets evident. I’m talking about people who are wondering when this will be “over” and it’ll get back to “normal.” Consider using your Bridge Plan as a celebration scrapbook! Everyone likes to be a “star” and chances are, if your community is like most of the country, this will be as close to Facebook as they’ll get!
When my Mom got diagnosed with breast cancer, we decided to seek out a 2nd opinion. Insurance didn't cover this, so be careful. Check options at: http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/second_opinion
When I was a caregiver for my Mom, her hair came out in clumps after her 2nd chemo treatment and neither of us was ready for it. If you are a caregiver be ready for that shock, and prepare for the head coverings, wigs, hats or trendy bald head ahead of time.
Read Randy Pausch's "The Last Lecture" or watch it on YouTube; it will break your heart and make you feel very lucky and happy to be human and to be alive!
The post-surgery side effects are embarrassing. Deal with the urinary seepage first (the other you can keep private) and know it can go away after a month or two.
Have your kids (I don't do much online) check out the Surgeon's ratings and patient comments and stuff. It's reassuring to know if other patients really liked their work.
Get a good idea of the post-surgery outcomes, especially for prostate cancer. Knowing that it's VERY survivable helped me be more positive.
Early detection is key; get PSA tests done yearly with your physical. We caught mine really early, that helped.
Take your biopsy tests and make your GP show you stats of how effective different procedures were with these exact PSA levels and numbers of positive biopsies; that really helped me decide on surgery.