ROCHESTER, Minn. (KIMT) – Former First Lady Nancy Reagan, who was laid to rest this week, once called it “a truly long, long goodbye,” but health experts say there are ways to deal with Alzheimer’s.
It impacts millions of Americans and can be very difficult on families, caregivers and patients themselves. Nancy took care of her husband, former President Ronald Reagan, for many years while he battled the illness.
Health officials say caregivers can do a few things to make things run more smoothly for patients, including having a routine, taking your time, and reducing distractions like TV. They also suggest, having a positive attitude.
“Even if our patients can’t remember things they do, remember emotions and they’re very sensitive to often reading emotions in other people. If they sense anger or irritability on the part of the caregiver, they are going to respond in a negative way,” Dr. David Knopman with Mayo Clinic says.
Knopman says there are also programs out there that can help take the stress away from caregivers, like doing heavy household chores or just taking the patient for a few hours. He also stresses the need for continued funding in this field.