Supporting friends who have recently been diagnosed or who have recently become carers can often be a challenging task. In most cases it’s not because we don’t want to help but because we don’t know exactly how to help.
Everybody reacts in their own way to diagnosis news. Some may go into denial, some may insist on being solely capable, others may simply fall into a heap, yet through it all knowing that your friends are there behind you provides a reassurance that can never be underrated.
You’ve probably noticed at other times in your life when friends are in trouble the support from their friends comes in different ways. Some will listen endlessly, others drop-off casseroles, there are the willing drivers, the odd-job friends, the ‘thinking of you’ card senders, the baby sitters, the milk and bread buyers, and flower buyers.
It’s said there are a variety of ways that people show love and it is never more evident than when supporting friends.
But just as there are ways each of us feel more comfortable supporting friends so there are ways that friends prefer being supported.
Alzheimers Disease puts restrictions on lives that those unfamiliar with it may not immediately realise. And while taking a person out for coffee may be your normal supportive gesture, it’s important to understand that it may be an offer turned down out of restrictions rather than choice.
For this reason we have put together a list of possible ways of help friends after an Alzheimers’ diagnosis in their family. Not all the suggestions will be relevant now, because they are very much dependent on the progression of the disease, but we hope that they provide at least a starting point for those new to the situation, both those who are friends and those who are being asked for ways their friends can help.
If you have any other suggestions to add to the list we would love to hear them. We’ve put a form at the bottom of the page purely for that reason.
<> Understand that plans may be cancelled at the last minute.
<> Phone to confirm before you call around.
<> Be patient.
<> Listen without always trying to solve.
<> Offer to pick up their shopping.
<> Arrange for the carer to have the occasional afternoon to themselves.
<> Remember that the person diagnosed is still a friend with feelings.
<> When making plans for time with the carer allow for the fact that they will probably have to bring their loved one with them.
<> When visiting talk or complete
with the person who has been diagnosed.
<> Label objects around the house and the people in photographs. It helps remind and reduces the fustration and anxiety of not being able to remember a name or word.
<> Label doors with words, as well as pictures, so as to help guide the person with Alzheimers in the right direction.
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