Receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, or learning that a loved one has, can be devastating. In fact, an estimated 5.3 million Americans are currently living with the illness. Although there is still no cure, scientists are working every day to find a way to eliminate Alzheimer’s for good.
For many people, finding out they have the disease is a reminder to appreciate every single day, and inspires them to make the most of their time. Here are some tips for embracing each day, whether you’re flying solo or spending time with loved ones:
Know the facts. You and those close to you will probably have a lot of questions about how you will be affected by Alzheimer’s. Don’t be shy about asking your doctor too many questions – he or she has likely answered them for other patients, and will never make you feel embarrassed for seeking information.This helpful infographic also includes lots of helpful facts about the nature and possible risk factors of Alzheimer’s, as well as what to expect in its different stages.
Be giving. Many people have found comfort with their diagnosis by helping those who are less fortunate. Volunteering for those in the end stages of a terminal illness, such as cancer patients, or volunteering to feed the hungry at a homeless shelter may help you find a meaningful way to spend your time. Making positive waves in your community is also a good way to spend time with loved ones.
Enjoy some live music. Whether you catch your favorite band in concert, listen to your grandchildren play the piano, or sing along to a catchy tune on the radio,there is evidence that music has positive effects on Alzheimer’s patients. Plus, listening to music is an activity you can appreciate whether you’re home alone on a rainy day, or surrounded by loved ones at a family picnic.
Get moving. Exercise is not only good for your body, it can also improve your mood by boosting your endorphin level.This article points out that there are many seniors with Alzheimer’s, and that swimming can provide them these benefits in a fun way that minimizes aches and pains. Swimming is a great solo activity. For example, try doing a few laps on your own around the pool. Of course, it’s also a great group activity – who doesn’t love going to (or throwing!) a pool party?
Although Alzheimer’s is a life-changing diagnosis that creates challenges for those affected by it, there is no reason to let the burden consume you. It’s perfectly OK – and normal! – to have bad days as you cope with the disease. But the more you can learn to appreciate and revel in the little things each day, the more you can simply enjoy life – and that’s a goal all of us should strive for.
Vee Cecil is a health coach and bootcamp instructor with a passion for overall wellness. When she’s not busy with clients, she enjoys spending time with her family, and sharing her favorite tips and recipes on her new blog.