“My advice would be to get as much information about the disease as you possibly can so that you understand the things your loved one is doing and why they are doing them,” says Joe Bonanno, the husband of a resident at Villa at Terracina, a memory care community in Naples, Florida. “Always remember that it’s the disease that is causing them to do that, not the person.”
Joe stresses the importance of really researching the disease so that you understand it better. He used to get upset when Virginia couldn’t do small and seemingly simple tasks like separating advertisements from the rest of the mail. Once he began to understand how Alzheimer’s affects behaviors and memories, he was able to turn what was initially anger into compassion.
Find Support Through Groups
Another piece of advice Joe recommends is to attend an Alzheimer’s and dementia support group. While it can be intimidating at first to share personal information and issues with strangers, being around people who are experiencing similar things and searching for resources will become a lifeline for you. “Let the support group help you,” says Joe. “They have certainly helped me. After a while, they become family for you.”