Coping With Alzheimer’s Disease: Resources for Patients and their Families

New publications help those suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease and their families find hope and connection.

Senior woman reading an Alzheimer's Disease magazine at home.

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Since Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) was first described in 1906, there’s been painfully little progress. For the people diagnosed with this disease and their families, coping with the symptoms can be difficult and traumatic, which makes staying connected even more important. Here are some hopeful resources to help family members engage with loved ones who have AD.

Nikki Jardin’s aunt was an avid reader of magazines, but that all changed after her Alzheimer’s Disease diagnosis. Nikki was forced to watch as her aunt flipped through the pages of the periodicals she had once loved, seemingly without interest. Despite her inability to focus on the images and connect with the content, she still carried the magazines around with her wherever she went.

In order to help her aunt, Nikki went on a search for books and magazines which were written in a way her aunt could connect to, but much of what she found was children’s literature or picture books, intended for young children and not older adults.

“Everything else was either puzzle books or picture books, and that just wasn’t where my aunt was at,” she told Alzheimer’s News Today. “I wanted to find a fun, age-appropriate, general-interest publication that was just a little easier to read. I didn’t find any. So, having a writing background, I wanted to create one.”

Nikki’s creation, called Mirador Magazine, launched last year and is about to publish its sixth issue. While it is made for people with Alzheimer’s Disease, it has also found a home among some people with autism, people recovering from traumatic brain injuries and concussions, and other people experiencing other kinds of dementia.

And while the magazine has been designed to appeal to people with AD, it’s also great for building relationships. The activities in the magazine are often interactive, such as object-find pictures, word searches, beautiful art, and various types of puzzles. Family members can enjoy the science- and music-based topics along with their loved ones who are affected by AD.

Mirador is one of a growing number of publications aimed at people with dementia and their families. Another new publication, Joyful Memories, has recently become available. It features large type and high-contrast colors, making it easy to understand the pictures, stories, poems, and jokes. The magazine was just launched in March, but so far the feedback has been positive.

For the more tech-savvy people, virtual reality (VR) games may also be an option. Earlier this year, researchers from Tunisia, Germany, and Finland published research on how VR training apps can be beneficial for people suffering from the space- and time-oriented disorders common in the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.

However you choose to spend time with your aging loved ones, know that your effort matters. A recent study has shown that experiencing loneliness more than doubles the risk of developing AD among seniors. Loneliness is also a major source of stress both among those living with dementia and their caregivers. So take the time to connect with the ones you care about.

If you or someone you know is suffering from AD, we have programs that cane help. Learn more about Care Management at SelectHealth.

*Published with permission from Mirador Magazine.


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