Alzheimer’s Disease

Guidelines for Better Communication with Brain Impaired Adults

Communicating with a loved one with a brain disorder can indeed be challenging. Finding the right words and getting your point across are difficult under normal circumstances.This difficulty is often compounded by your role as a caregiver. And although there are no easy solutions, following some basic guidelines should ease communication, and lower levels of stress both for you and for the care recipient.

Caregiving During a National Emergency

At times of emergency, such as the events of September 11 or Hurricane Katrina, there are so many things to process, one has trouble prioritizing and putting things in perspective. If you are caring for a loved one with dementia, you probably found your attention distracted and your emotions conflicted. Sometimes it was hard to concentrate on the daily things in life, sometimes it was reassuring to do mundane tasks. Often people feel out of control and insecure at times of crisis. Perhaps the suggestions below will help when times are unsettled —for any reason.

Sexuality and Dementia

Coping with Changes in Your Intimate Relationship 

How has your relationship with your partner changed as a result of disease? Physicians seem reluctant to address this question with caregivers dealing with a long-term chronic illness.

"No one asked me about my marriage or sexuality. Yet it plays a large part in our well being. No one asked me, 'what's the quality of your life?' … I'm a sexual individual. I'm 76 years old and I'm still alive," said Jerry, who cared for his wife with dementia.

Hands-On Skills for Caregivers

When you’re a caregiver, finding time to take care of your own physical needs is difficult enough, but taking care of the physical needs of someone else is even more challenging. Assisting someone else to dress, bathe, sit or stand when they are upset, agitated or combative—often the case when caring for someone with a brain disorder such as Alzheimer’s disease—requires special strategies. The following five techniques can make taking care of a loved one’s physical needs easier.

Alzheimer’s Disease and Caregiving


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a condition that causes abnormal changes in the brain mainly affecting memory and other mental abilities. Alzheimer's is a disease, not a normal part of aging. Loss of memory is the usual first symptom. As the disease progresses, the loss of reasoning ability, language, decision-making ability, judgment and other critical skills make navigating day-to-day living impossible without help from others, most often a family member or friend. Sometimes, but not always, difficult changes in personality and behavior occur.

¿Es una demencia? ¿Que significa ese diagnóstico? (Is this Dementia and What Does it Mean?)


¿Qué quiere decir el diagnóstico de demencia? Para algunas personas, esta palabra provoca temibles imágenes de conducta "loca" y descontrolada. En realidad, la palabra "demencia" describe un grupo de síntomas entre los cuales están: la pérdida de la memoria a corto plazo, la confusión, la incapacidad para resolver problemas, la incapacidad para ejecutar tareas complejas como cocinar o llevar las cuentas de gastos y, a veces, alteraciones de la personalidad o comportamientos inusuales.

Making Choices About Everyday Care (for Families)

The diagnosis of a dementing illness marks a new stage in your life and your family’s life. Challenging decisions and important choices arise, along with uncertainty and often confusion, anxiety or fear. Some decisions might need to be made right away. Others lie ahead. The best future for you and your family depends on understanding what is most important to each of you. Recognizing and communicating your personal values about everyday care enables you and your family to make the right choices, one by one, as the situation changes.

How to Form a Support Group for Families of Brain-Impaired Adults

Support or "self-help" groups are formed by people who share common concerns. The groups may be participant-initiated or sponsored by a health care institution, social services agency or nonprofit organization.

A degenerative or terminal illness, or an accident involving a family member, is a traumatic experience for spouse, parents, children and other relatives. Support groups allow those facing the difficult task of daily caregiving to benefit from interaction and support from other people in similar situations.

Helping Families Make Everyday Care Choices


The best everyday care choices for the person diagnosed with a dementing illness, and for loved ones giving care, depend on an understanding of values and care preferences. Examples of everyday care choices include when to stop driving, how to manage money, whether to purchase or use support services, when to accept care from family members and, at a more personal level, when to bathe and what activities to do.

Dementia & Driving

When an individual is diagnosed with dementia, one of the first concerns that families and caregivers face is whether or not that person should drive. A diagnosis of dementia may not mean that a person can no longer drive safely. In the early stages of dementia, some – though not all – individuals may still possess skills necessary for safe driving. Most dementia, however, is progressive, meaning that symptoms such as memory loss, visual-spatial disorientation, and decreased cognitive function will worsen over time.


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