Coping with Alzheimer’s: When Does a Senior Need Help?  

Golden YearsIt can be heartbreaking when a parent or a loved one gets diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. While they will be able to function normally for a while, inevitably they’ll start to show signs of being unable to cope with Alzheimer’s on their own. This is due to the progressive nature of this disease.

It’s insidious because it slowly creeps up on the patient and they do not even realize what’s happening. For people who are used to being independent and capable, they may be reluctant to seek help even when they start neglecting the daily chores and their lives seem to be spiraling out of control.

As a guardian, it will be your duty to keep an eye out on your parent/patient to see if they need help with their day to day living. In this article, you’ll discover a few signs of Alzheimer’s that indicate the senior needs long-term care or a full-time caregiver.


  • Letting the daily chores slide

This is the most obvious sign of the lot. It’s especially obvious if the patient was a highly neat and organized person. When the disease progresses, the patient may neglect the daily chores.

The house will get messy. The dishes will start piling up. Old food will not be thrown out. Broken appliances will not be fixed. Basically, the house will slowly fall into a state of disrepair.

The sad irony here is that the state of their home starts to reflect the state of their mind. It’s imperative that you speak to the patient and find out why their living conditions have taken a turn for the worse.

In some cases, depression may have set in and they’re not in a mood to do anything. But for the most part, it will be due to Alzheimer’s and the patient will not even realize that his/her living conditions have deteriorated.


  • Personal hygiene

Just like how the house and chores get neglected, the patient may also forget to brush his/her teeth, take a shower, change their clothes and so on.

They may wear the wrong clothes when going out or not iron their clothes, etc. They no longer pay attention to how they look and can’t care what others think about them.


  • Erratic behavior

Another very common sign is behavior that doesn’t seem normal. The patient may be easily agitated. There have been many cases where a senior who is coping with Alzheimer’s physically abuses his partner. These actions may be the total opposite of how they behaved before their mental faculties started to slip.

The patient may also have bruises and cuts that they have no idea how they got. They may have fallen or accidentally injured themselves but have no memory of it.

Their driving may be unpredictable too. Since this is a very dangerous situation to be in, steps must be taken to prevent them from driving. Getting their license revoked, removing their car keys, etc. are measures that one can take to arrest this problem before it ends in a worst-case scenario where someone loses their life.


  • Where is the money going?

Seniors who are coping with Alzheimer’s can literally spend hundreds of dollars on items they don’t need. They’ll not have a care in the world about their budget. To make matters worse, they may forget that they bought all the unnecessary products and suddenly worry and wonder where all their money has gone.

Check all their bills. Have they bought products they don’t need? Are there unnecessary charges on their credit card bills?

Also take note if they’re paying anyone for services that they don’t require. There are unscrupulous people who will try and take advantage of the elderly for financial gain. You’ll need to be on high alert here.

Some Of The Signs

These are just some of the signs that the patient’s mental faculties are slipping and you need to step in and help them out. Initially, there may be a period of adjustment that will be a test of patience to all involved, but once the senior gets used to the help and care, they’ll rely on you even without realizing it.

This is a disease that affects both the patient and the ones who care for them. If you find yourself getting depressed and irritable, it may be time to hire a full-time caregiver to help you shoulder some of the burden. This is one of the best decisions you could make.

Hoping that some of this information may be of help.


Rich Jablonski






P.S. For more Information see the Alzheimer’s Organization.

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