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Living with Alzheimer's Disease in Toronto

Posted by Steve Jones

Tue, Jul 23, 2013

1 in 11 Canadians over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s or related dementia.

Within the next generation the number of Canadians with some form of dementia will more than double, from about half a million today to well over 1 million. So chances are good that you’ll be affected by dementia in your lifetime, perhaps yourself, or very likely someone you know and love.

Earlier diagnosis, access to better treatment options and a greater understanding of the disease itself are changing the lives of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Many people continue to lead active and meaningful lives long after diagnosis. But caregiving is still a critical issue for people living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.

Toronto home health care help for dealing with Alzheimer's

If you are a caregiver to someone with Alzheimer’s or related dementia, your commitment to your loved one is absolute and unconditional. No matter how strong your commitment, though, the stress, both physical and emotional, takes its toll on you. You have to take care of yourself as well as your loved one, or you will be unable to help them.

Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you, whether you need respite care for a few hours, a day or on a regular basis. Or perhaps you are facing the prospect of placing your loved one in long-term care because you can no longer provide the care they need. Whatever support you might need, you are not alone.

The Alzheimer Society is Canada’s leading health charity for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Learn more at http://www.alzheimer.ca/.

The Canadian Caregiver Coalition is the national voice for the needs and interests of family caregivers. They are a bilingual, not-for-profit organization of caregivers, caregiver support group.

Alzheimer's patients experience a variety of emotions

For some people, the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is a shock. For others, there may be an initial sense of relief at finally being able to put a name to their symptoms.

You may be overwhelmed by the many changes that are taking place in your life -- receiving a diagnosis, telling others, experience changes in your abilities, anticipating further losses, changes in your relationships and more.

The Alzheimer's Society of Canada asked people about their reactions and feelings about living with Alzheimer's disease. Here are some of their comments:

Experiencing this range of emotions is a normal reaction to having a disease whose symptoms affect the way you see yourself. As one person with Alzheimer's disease said, "Your inner world is changing." Each person responds to these changes in his or her own way.

Talking to to someone about how you feel is one way to get these feelings out into the open. Talk to a close friend, a family member or someone with whom you feel comfortable.

It can be especially helpful to meet with other people who have the disease. Together, you can share your feelings and experiences and offer each other social and emotional support. Contact the Alzheimer's Society of Toronto for information on local groups and other support that is available here in the GTA.

Some suggestions for coping with your emotions

Each of us has our own way of dealing with our feelings. The important thing is to find a way to ways of coping with these emotions that makes you feel better.

Here are some ideas for coping with your emotions:

  • Acknowledge them.
  • Take one day at a time.
  • Join a support group.
  • Be with people you can laugh with.
  • Go for a walk with someone or on your own.
  • Don't be shy. Ask for help.
  • Tell people if they hurt your feelings.
  • Pets are good for people and are calming.
  • Don't stay indoors. Get out and do something.

Want some more ideas about how to live with Alzheimer's? Get this free 40-page ebook, "Shared Experiences: Suggestions for Living Well with Alzheimer's Disease."