Learning that a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease can certainly be a distressing event. However, according to U.S. News & World Report, there are steps to take that can make caring for a family member a less harrowing process.
The news source reports that the largest focus should be placed on managing the illness rather than trying to cure it.
Putting the emphasis on one's quality of life can result in an increased lifespan and also take some of the burden off of the caregiver.
"The focus now is teaching techniques and giving support to people," patient care and family support expert Paul Raia told the news provider. "By doing this, we can help avoid problematic symptoms that occur in the later stages of the disease. Looking down the horizon, we want to be able to help people maintain Alzheimer's in the earlier stages."
Raia suggests that using certain communication techniques, such as never saying the word "no" and creating positive emotions, are ways to make the process more manageable.
The Centers for Disease Control reports that Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and more than 5 million older adults are currently suffering from the mental illness.