21 Sep 2017

Living With Alzheimer's Disease: A Look At Daily Life

Living With Alzheimer's Disease: A Look At Daily Life

As this month is World Alzheimer's Month, we wanted to share a little insight into what it's actually like living with Alzheimer's Disease, and the impact that it has on the people living with it and their families and friends. 

Alzheimer’s Disease is one of the most common health conditions impacting over 65s in the UK. There are over 850,000 people living with dementia in Britain, with this number projected to increase. It is one of few health conditions that cannot be treated, managed, or controlled, it is a disease that kills.

Studies have shown that by 2025, one million people in the UK will have dementia, and by 2050 there will be two million people suffering from this disease. So bearing that in mind, it is safe to assume that if they aren’t already, within the next ten to 20 years, almost every family will be touched by this disease in one way or another.

While a lot of people understand how the disease itself works and what the impact of it can be on a person’s daily life, what a lot of people don’t realise is what it is like to live with it. What does an Alzheimer’s patient actually go through and what is life like for their immediate family?

Alzheimer’s Disease, like many forms of dementia, is slow progressing, which means for a lot of people with dementia, it can be difficult accepting the disease and knowing what the future holds for them. At first, Alzheimer’s disease only takes a few short-term memories, and then over time progresses slowly.

What is Alzheimer’s like for people with it?

Something that a lot of newly diagnosed people with Alzheimer’s struggle with is the fact that one day they will no longer recognise their family and friends. They also fear the unknown, and what life will be like when they can no longer remember things that used to come naturally to them.

Understanding this fear isn’t easy, but some specialists believe it is like taking a drug that wipes your short-term memory and being surrounded by objects and people that you would not have any long-term memories of, and because of this, feeling confused. Ageing is a significant issue because often, people with Alzheimer’s know what their partners, siblings, children, and grandchildren looked like when they were younger, but have no recollection of them at the age they are now.

The example above is just a basic version of what it is like to have Alzheimer’s Disease. It doesn’t explain exactly what a person with dementia or Alzheimer’s goes through, but it does give a good insight into their mental state.

What is it like for loved ones?

For loved ones of a person with dementia, it can be hard to think about the future. Especially the concept that in a few short months or years, their loved one may no longer recognise them or know who they are. It can be hard to think about the future. There is often fear of becoming a carer and worry about making decisions when the person with dementia is no longer able to do so.

One way that some relatives of people with Alzheimer’s Disease cope is by seeing their loved one with dementia as having two sides. These are the person they were before, and the person that they become. Both parts of the person are loved equally, but in different ways.

Living with Alzheimer's Disease isn't easy, especially as the disease progresses. However, there is plenty of support and help available, to make coping with this disease slightly easier and less stressful. 

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