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riskfactors research lifestyle brainhealth management Alzheimer's

Becky Cody-Maiden

“What they see, think, and believe is real to them. No amount of arguing will persuade them of any different.”

Becky is part-time caregiver for her father Tom, who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s  four years ago. 

My dad, Tom, was diagnosed at the age of 56. At the time, he was was working full-time and taking care of my grandmother who also had an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. All of that began to take a toll on him and stressed him out. I noticed changes in my dad well before doctors or friends saw them. I knew the signs, having seen it with my grandmother. I wanted to blame it on stress because he was so young but deep down I knew. My dad is now 60 and needs 24/7 care. His wife Connie is his main caregiver but I help out when I can. Thankfully, he is still at home and if I have any say, he will remain home. He needs help with everyday basic needs like bathing, eating and dressing but he still knows most of my family and gets very excited when my kids and I visit.

My advice is don’t argue with your loved one. What they see, think, and believe is real to them. No amount of arguing will persuade them of any different. At a certain point, my dad stopped recognizing himself in the mirror. He would think we was someone else and talk to his own reflection. We didn’t try to convince him any different, we just took down mirrors and covered up anything that would show his reflection.

Also, when someone offers help, accept it. It is not a sign of failing or giving up. It’s a sign that you’re human. Even if it’s just for a few minutes to run to the store, take a nap, or to just breath. Always accept the help.

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