5 Ways to Address the Stigma Associated with Alzheimer’s

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Alzheimer’s is a complex condition that impacts every senior differently. People who don’t have firsthand experience with Alzheimer’s misunderstand it, and this stigma can become an obstacle for seniors with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Here are five ways to address the stigma about Alzheimer’s. 


1. Don’t Shy Away from Discussions

When someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it’s an emotional experience. Many people are reluctant to talk about this experience and unwilling to share their anxiety, confusion, and grief with anyone but their closest friends and family members. 

When possible, seniors with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers should try to open up about the realities of the condition. Their candor can dispel some of the myths about Alzheimer’s. They shouldn’t be afraid to advocate for better treatment options, research, and preventative methods. If people who have been affected by the disease engage in these sorts of discussions, it may mitigate the stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s. 

Providing adequate Alzheimer’s care requires a great deal of effort and attention to detail. Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors to manage without assistance, and it can be just as challenging for families who don’t have experience in providing Alzheimer’s care. Livingston Assisting Hands Home Care provides Alzheimer’s care seniors and their families can depend on. Our caregivers help seniors with Alzheimer’s and other memory-related conditions live happier and healthier lives.


2. Get Involved

Alzheimer’s caregivers should look for local organizations that support people with the disease. They may find that the nearby senior center offers art classes for adults with dementia or the local church hosts Alzheimer’s support groups. Community outreach programs provide caregivers and seniors with opportunities to share their stories, learn from others, and receive the support they need as the condition progresses. 

Family caregivers may not always be available to take their loved one to senior centers or church. For some families, caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times. Luckily, they can rely on professional homecare. Assisting Hands Home Care is a trusted name in respite and hourly care. Our caregivers are available around the clock to assist seniors with bathing, transportation, medication reminders, exercise, and much more, allowing families the time they need to focus on other important responsibilities or just take a break.


3. Arm Yourself with Knowledge

Many people simply don’t understand what Alzheimer’s is, and they may make assumptions about people with the condition. When possible, people who have firsthand experience with the condition should try to correct these assumptions. For example, many people don’t understand that seniors with Alzheimer’s can remain in the early stages of the disease for years, and they assume they all exhibit late-stage symptoms. When caregivers encounter this type of misinformation, they should give a brief explanation of the stages of Alzheimer’s and provide ways to learn more about the condition via online content, pamphlets, and books. 


4. Avoid Negative Phrasing

The way we talk about Alzheimer’s matters. The stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s is due in part to the phrases used to describe it. Take the term “sundowning,” for example, which is used to describe people with Alzheimer’s who get restless or wander at night. While this catchphrase describes a genuine Alzheimer’s symptom, classifying people as “sundowners” can strip them of their individuality and reduce them to their disease. Try not to describe people in terms of their condition. When caregivers are discussing the symptoms, they should try to assert their loved ones’ individuality. 


5. Don’t Get Discouraged 

After being exposed to a few negative stereotypes about the disease, it’s easy for people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers to get discouraged. They should try to remain positive, as reducing the stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s has many benefits. The more people know about the disease, the more likely they’ll be to seek treatment, provide emotional support, and treat seniors with Alzheimer’s with respect. 

Caring for older adults with Alzheimer’s can be a challenging task. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of home care Livingston families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. If you need professional care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today.