Alzheimer's patients are confronted everyday with many different problems and limitations. Bad for patients is the feeling of helplessness over the situation. Consequently, there are emotional limitations, such as depression or aggression. The aggressions are usually formed in the manner that the patients are not able to accept the situation and try to defend themselves against it. Other patients get depressed instead and isolate themselves more and more from society and thus they grow lonely.
The emotional situation also depends on the physical capacity of the person, wich continually decreases the further the disease progresses. The patient is decreasingly able to move, the muscles aren't trained any more, the work movements work no longer and finally the person becomes bed-ridden at the final stage of the disease. The sensory and cognitive abilities of the patient are limited. The further the disease progresses, the more the patient gets confused and isn't able to orientate himself. This can lead to accidents at home or outdoors.
- What type of song is it? Love song? Ballad? Rock? Aggressiveve?
- When did I hear the song the first/last time?
- Where have I been at that time? What have I done there?
- What did I feel? Happiness? Lovesickness? Sorrow?
But not only by playing songs the patient can be cheered up. If the music therapy is done in a group, it can be tried to sing or, if that's not possible, to accompany the music with clapping or other simple instruments. This type of community can brighten up the mood specifically in depressed patients.
In addition to music therapy, painting is an emotional outlet for the patient, too. Especially in cases where the speech is involved or where the handwriting isn't decipherable any more, painting or drawing can be very helpful. This way, the patient can express himself, even if a verbal communication isn't possible any longer. The easiest way is to give a pad and a pen to the patient.
With the help of pictures, the patient may also try to find some order in his thoughts, even if he can't express them verbally. Depending on the choice of colours and motifs, the emotions the patient feels can be expressed, too.
Talk therapy / Meetings for patients
Note: The figure shows a senior round. The characters represented are not necessarily suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
Meetings or talk therapy can be found in larger cities with centre's specialized in Alzheimer's or dementia, which provide group meetings for the patients. Participation in such events, however, only makes sense as long as the patients can express themselves and describe their emotional state. It also makes little sense to force the patients to attend a meeting. If there's an aggressive response to the participation, it is better to attend individual discussions with a psychologist.
Talk therapy / Meetings for relatives
Meetings or support groups for relatives are becoming increasingly important. As noted in the item Psychological support, not only the patient but also the relative is under tremendous mental and nervous pressure. He is overwhelmed by the situation, but he possibly isn't able to give the sick to a nursing home for some time, so he can take a holiday or some time for himself. To avoid getting into a vortex, which the relative can't escape, he should begin to search the internet, local institutions or the hospital for people in the same situation as early as possible. These people might already care for a sufferer for a longer period of time and can give assistance from experience. Maybe it already helps to simply go for a cup of coffee and exchange thoughts to at least not having the feeling to be alone with the problems. Basically, you are not able to always do everything right about caring, however you try it.
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Anger management therapy
A psychological attended anger management therapy is recommended for patients, which do not cope at all with the disease and then react aggressively towards their fellow men. It should be tried to find a method which can calm down the patient. This type of therapy can possibly be linked with the movement therapy and music therapy. If the patient you care for tends to aggressions and is overwhelmed by the situation, you should see the psychological consultation in the hospital or contact the patient's doctor. they can tell you the local therapy options and provide tips on how to deal with the patient in the best possible way.
In Alzheimer's disease, not only the brain power and with it their mental performance of the patients fades over the years, but also their physical condition deteriorates. Depending on the patient's state of mind, he lets himself go due to depressions and doesn't leave his bed or home any more. This should be avoided as long as the person is able to move independently. The patient should always be encouraged to move. If possible, the carer or relative should make short walks with the patients so that they aren't at home all the time, but see a different environment and other people.
Depending on the physical condition of the patient at the beginning of the disease, it might be possible to visit senior sports groups or Alzheimer's or Dementia groups, which are specially designed for adequate physical activity for the patients.
In patients feeling restless inside and being hardly able to sit quietly and therefore have little ability to concentrate, a movement therapy is only recommended if they can get a sense of community and thus are able to focus on certain work movements.
As long as the patient is willing and able to participate in such offerings, he should not be stopped.
If the occupational therapy is applied, the cognitive abilities of the patient can also be strengthened.