Helping Your Elderly Parent Through The Early Stages Of Alzheimer’s Disease

Age is a natural part of life, so you will most likely watch one or both parents change physically and mentally. Unfortunately, your parent may also develop Alzheimer's disease, which can be challenging for you and your entire family. An estimated 15 million people become caregivers for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease, so you may also need to help your parent go through the various stages of this progressive disorder. If your parent was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's, use this guide to understand the early stage of the disease to ensure they receive the best care possible.

The 411 on Stage 1 Alzheimer's Disease

Your parent will still feel be able to take care of themselves and complete simple daily tasks during the initial stage of Alzheimer's disease. However, your parent may experience the following signs during this first stage:

  • Periodic memory lapses
  • Difficulty remembering names
  • Difficulty finding the right word when communicating
  • Misplacing items
  • Coordination/balancing issues
  • Depression

Simple Solutions to Care for your Parent

Since most people are able to bathe, cook, drive, and complete basic tasks on their own during this initial stage, you may not think your parent requires assistance. Unfortunately, Alzheimer's disease can move into a more severe stage quickly, so supervising and checking in on your parent frequently is smart.

Here are a few simple solutions to care for your parent while allowing them to be independent during stage 1:

  • Appointments – Place a large, easy to read calendar on your parent's refrigerator. Document all appointments on the calendar. Make sure they know the date, time, and location of their appointments.
  • Medications – Your parent may struggle remembering to take their medications, so you should also sort out their prescriptions in a pill organizer. Check their pill organizer frequently, making sure all medications have been taken properly.
  • Transportation – To prevent your parent from losing their memory while driving, provide them with transportation to and from their appointments. 
  • Communicate – It is important to discuss the disease with your parent continuously, since they may deal with a variety of troubling emotions. They should understand it is normal to feel angry and depressed when experiencing the symptoms of Alzheimer's.
  • Professionals – When you are unable to check on your parent, consider hiring professional nurses or nurse aids to make visits to their home. This will ensure your parent is safe during times when you are unable to check in on them.

The early stage of Alzheimer's disease may not be severe, but it still deserves proper understanding and care. With this guide and the help of your parent's doctors, you will have the tools needed to care for your parent during stage 1 of Althziermers.