If your loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia, it’s often hard to tell. And if they’re far enough along in the disease, they won’t be able to tell you. So you’ve got to be on the lookout for sudden bursts of agitation, seemingly without reason. The reason may be pain.
You may have to determine whether your loved one is in the “cycle of pain” – pain, anxiety, fatigue, depression…pain, anxiety, fatigue, depression, etc.
If your senior loved one has a history of infection, arthritis, joint or muscle problems, inflammation, or headaches, you should be monitoring their behavior for signs of sudden change. It could be something that requires treatment, for example, a urinary tract infection or a bad headache.
A run-of-the-mill sore – on the foot, for example – can be very painful for seniors. So can a flare-up of arthritis. If these things happened to you, or I, we’d be able to explain them to our family, and, if necessary, to our doctor. But Alzheimer’s/dementia patients often can’t. So you have to be aware of other things, such as facial expressions or body language. You don’t need to be a psychologist or doctor to look at a senior’s face and see pain or discomfort.
Medical problems, however, are not always the cause of agitation in Alzheimer’s or dementia patients. Sometimes, unfortunately, it’s the medicines they take to combat these problems. Who among us – healthy or not – has not experienced adverse reactions from certain medications? I know of a couple that sometimes make me feel as if I’m crawling out of my skin. But I can address those issues with my husband, or my doctor. Seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia often can’t.
The Alzheimer’s/dementia journey is a long, hard one…and the patient’s not the only victim. Family members are victims, as well. But support is available.
At The Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates, we’ve been working with South Florida families affected by Alzheimer’s or dementia for the past 33 years. We’ve helped thousands of them on the Alzheimer’s/dementia journey. With professionalism. With a steadfast commitment to protect their assets, preserve their rights, and get them the help they need. And, when necessary, with a soft shoulder.
You don’t have to make this journey alone! We’re just a phone call away.