5 Ways to Address the Stigma That Surrounds Alzheimer’s

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How to Challenge the Stigma About Alzheimer's Disease in Columbus, OH

Alzheimer’s is a complex condition that impacts every senior differently. People who don’t have firsthand experience with Alzheimer’s misunderstand it, and this stigma can become an obstacle for seniors with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Here are five ways to address the stigma about Alzheimer’s.

1. Don’t Shy Away from Discussions

When someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it’s an emotional experience. Many people are reluctant to talk about this experience and unwilling to share their anxiety, confusion, and grief with anyone but their closest friends and family members. When possible, seniors with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers should try to open up about the realities of the condition. Their candor can dispel some of the myths about Alzheimer’s. They shouldn’t be afraid to advocate for better treatment options, research, and preventative methods. If people who have been affected by the disease engage in these sorts of discussions, it may mitigate the stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s.

Providing adequate Alzheimer’s care requires a great deal of effort and attention to detail. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Columbus Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

2. Get Involved

Alzheimer’s caregivers should look for local organizations that support people with the disease. They may find that the nearby senior center offers art classes for adults with dementia, or the local church hosts Alzheimer’s support groups. Community outreach programs provide caregivers and seniors with opportunities to share their stories, learn from others, and receive the support they need as the condition progresses.

Family caregivers may not always be available to take their loved one to senior centers or church. For some families, caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times. Luckily, they can rely on professional respite care. Columbus, OH, Home Care Assistance is a trusted name in respite and hourly care. Our caregivers are available around the clock to assist seniors with bathing, transportation, medication reminders, exercise, and much more, allowing families the time they need to focus on other important responsibilities or just take a break.

3. Arm Yourself with Knowledge

Many people simply don’t understand what Alzheimer’s is, and they may make assumptions about people with the condition. When possible, people who have firsthand experience with the condition should try to correct these assumptions. For example, many people don’t understand that seniors with Alzheimer’s can remain in the early stages of the disease for years, and they assume they all exhibit late-stage symptoms. When caregivers encounter this type of misinformation, they should give a brief explanation of the stages of Alzheimer’s and provide ways to learn more about the condition via online content, pamphlets, and books.

4. Avoid Negative Phrasing

The way we talk about Alzheimer’s matters. The stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s is due in part to the phrases used to describe it. Take the term “sundowning” for example, which is used to describe people with Alzheimer’s who get restless or wander at night. While this catchphrase describes a genuine Alzheimer’s symptom, classifying people as “sundowners” can strip them of their individuality and reduce them to their disease. Try not to describe people in terms of their condition. When caregivers are discussing the symptoms, they should try to assert their loved one’s individuality.

5. Don’t Get Discouraged

After being exposed to a few negative stereotypes about the disease, it’s easy for people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers to get discouraged. They should try to remain positive, as reducing the stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s has many benefits. The more people know about the disease, the more likely they’ll be to seek treatment, provide emotional support, and treat seniors with Alzheimer’s with respect.

Caring for older adults with Alzheimer’s can be a challenging task. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care Columbus, OH, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Call us at (614) 481-8888 to create a customized home care plan for your loved one.


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