Although Alzheimer’s affects seniors in a vast range of ways, one of the most critical developments is the impact this disease has on sense of time. If you are providing Anchorage, AK, Alzheimer’s care for an elderly loved one with this illness, understanding the implications of this development can help you approach the behavioral challenges that present themselves with a greater level of empathy.
No Point of Reference
People without Alzheimer’s frequently check their watches throughout the day to determine the time. They pay mind to time to ensure they are on track with their schedules and aren’t poised to miss important events or meetings. Without a clear sense of what day or even year it is, checking a watch can be a moot point because there is no sure point of reference seniors with Alzheimer’s can count on.
During the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s, your loved one may not know what the current day, week, year, or even season is. This can create intense confusion because your loved one may be expecting to find the warm months of summer when going outdoors, only to be greeted by the blistering cold of winter. When referencing past events that feel like current ones, your loved one may feel he or she is at the center of a grand conspiracy. Children who are expected to look young, but are now adults, and living environments that are not the ones your loved one remembers living in can add to the confusion and the sense that some sort of trickery is afoot.
Anger, Frustration, and Loss of Self
Beyond causing confusion, a disconnection from time and its normal progression can cause frustration, anger, and even the loss of self. Seniors with Alzheimer’s frequently feel like other people are tricking them because their sense of connection with past events feels more real than their connection with what’s really going on in the world around them. When your loved one believes something to be true and it conflicts with reality, he or she may feel less connected to him or herself.
Minutes That Feel Like Hours and Hours That Feel Like Minutes
The progression of time is also quite different for someone with Alzheimer’s. For these individuals, a single hour can feel like the passage of an entire day. You might only leave your loved one alone for a few minutes, but he or she might believe you’ve been gone all day. Conversely, a senior in the early stages of Alzheimer’s’ might step out for a quick stroll, only to wander aimlessly for hours without any real sense of the amount of time passed.
If your loved one needs help managing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, turn to Home Care Assistance. All of our caregivers are trained in our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics Method, which helps stave off cognitive decline and helps seniors build new routines to look forward to. For more information on the elder home care Anchorage, AK, families trust, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at (907) 770-0907 today.