Steps to Take When a Loved One Receives an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

Getting an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be devastating for seniors and their family members. However, while Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia pose unique challenges, it doesn’t have to significantly diminish the quality of your aging loved one’s life. Here are some effective interventions to consider if your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Anticipate Negative Behaviors

People with Alzheimer’s, especially those with advanced Alzheimer’s disease, may be prone to certain negative behaviors. These may include aggressiveness, fear, and combativeness. It’s important to anticipate these behaviors before they occur so you can handle them positively and therapeutically. For example, if your loved one acts out verbally or physically, calmly redirect them to another activity. Another way to overcome negative behaviors is to engage your loved one in their favorite activities, which may include crafts, singing, dancing, and reminiscing about pleasant memories from childhood.

 

A professional caregiver with training and expertise in assisting seniors living with cognitive impairment can be a wonderful source of support for your loved one with Alzheimer’s. For many seniors, 24-hour home care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Corio by IOA, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care San Francisco industry. Our compassionate team  ensures seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s can remain in the comfort of their home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness.

Maintain a Calm Environment

Seniors with Alzheimer’s can startle easily and become agitated in environments that are too stimulating or loud. Maintain a peaceful environment by playing relaxing music, keep the volume lower on the television, and ask family and friends to speak in low tones to  maximize your loved one’s comfort levels. Further, always ask your loved one if he or she is comfortable receiving visitors before inviting them. If your loved one expresses displeasure or anxiety at the thought of having company, postpone the visit to a later date.

Work with the Primary Care Physician

Another important intervention to consider if your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is to closely work with their primary care physician. If your loved one is taking medications for enhanced cognition or other medications to manage Alzheimer’s disease, ask the doctor about any potential side effects. If side effects are noticed, call the doctor as soon as possible so he or she can either adjust the dosage or prescribe a different drug. The primary care physician can also recommend strategies for managing anxiety and depression that may be present in people with dementia.

Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted senior care provider. Families need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Corio by Institute on Aging (IOA) is here to help.

Monitor for Wandering

Another common effect of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia is a condition known as “sundowning.” This refers to the phenomenon that occurs during the evening or when the sun goes down. Seniors with sundowning syndrome may become more confused at night and even attempt to wander away from the home. Sundowning also raises the risk of accidents and injuries in the home, such as falling, leaving the stove on, and consuming dangerous products such as medications or cleaning supplies. Installing extra locks or alarms on the doors can alert you if your loved one tries to leave the home. If this happens, gently redirect your loved one or provide orientation in a way that doesn’t lead to anxiety, fear, or anger.


Aging adults with Alzheimer’s disease can benefit from receiving professional memory care. Seniors need regular mental stimulation when managing memory-related conditions, and a reliable in-home caregiver who has extensive training in dementia care can be a great asset. Our services include comprehensive personal care, light housekeeping, and companionship services on an hourly, overnight, live-in, or 24-hour basis. If you need professional home care for your loved one, we’re just a phone call away. Reach out to Corio by IOA today at (415) 750-4111.