Alzheimer’s Insights: Now What? Remember to take care of yourself
Published 12:30 pm Saturday, December 28, 2019
One of the first things you should do is contact the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 helpline at 800-272-3900. Through this free service, specialists and masters-level clinicians offer confidential support and information to people living with the disease, caregivers, families and the public. You can speak confidentially with masters-level care consultants for decision-making support, crisis assistance and education on issues families face every day.
You will experience good days and bad days. An emphasis on living a healthier life can help prepare you to live well and focus your energies on what is most important to you. Maintaining your physical, emotional, social and spiritual health may help improve your daily life.
By educating yourself about the disease, developing effective coping strategies and planning for the future, you can create a solid foundation from which to tackle new challenges and changes.
Caring for your physical health
Take care of your physical health with diet and exercise. Adopting a healthy lifestyle can help you live well with your diagnosis for as long as possible.
Use these tips to maintain your physical health:
- Get regular checkups. Establish a relationship with a physician you trust.
- Establish a routine for diet and exercise.
- Create a care team that understands your physical health needs and can help you monitor or respond to any changes that occur.
- Listen to your body! Rest when you are tired and be mindful of overextending yourself.
- Drink only minimal amounts of alcohol.
- Do not change medications and/or dosages without first checking with your doctor.
Although a balanced diet has not been proven as an effective treatment to address symptoms of Alzheimer’s, the best current evidence suggests that heart-healthy eating patterns, such as the Mediterranean diet, also may help protect the brain. A Mediterranean diet includes relatively little red meat and emphasizes whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish, and nuts, olive oil and other healthy fats.
There is no conclusive evidence that brain exercises can slow or reverse cognitive decline. However, learning new information, taking a class, or challenging yourself to try a new hobby or activity may help increase your brain activity.
Caring for your emotional and psychological health
Coming to terms with a serious diagnosis like Alzheimer’s disease involves embracing changes in your emotional state. You may experience difficult feelings and emotions, which may be triggered by your relationships with others, your experience with stigma or your frustration with daily changes. One of the most important things you can do is talk about your feelings with someone you trust such as your spouse, partner, pastor or counselor.
Caring for your social health
Strong relationships and an active social network can have an impact on your health. Connecting with others who also are living in the early stage can be a comforting and satisfying experience. These individuals truly understand what you’re going through. Building a support network with others like you can help normalize what you’re experiencing, reduce the impact of stigma and improve your quality of life.
You don’t have to face Alzheimer’s alone. The Alzheimer’s Association is here to help you.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research, to provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s®. For more information, visit alz.org or call the 24/7 helpline at 800-272-3900.
Scott Finley is Media Relations Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association® in Texas. He can be reached at email@example.com