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Monthly Dementia Support Group for Family Caregivers
Tuesday, August 6th 6pm-7pm. Click HERE & RSVP Now! Click HERE to Register!
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alzheimers grief

Grief and Loss as Alzheimer’s Progresses

Navigating the journey of Alzheimer’s disease is a challenging path. One that is often filled with moments of profound reflection and deep emotional connection.

Alzheimer’s grief reflects the unique emotional landscape experienced by those caring for loved ones going through this journey. It’s a shared experience, a testament to the deep bonds of love and commitment that can be found in life’s most challenging moments.

The Kensington Redondo Beach aims to provide a guiding light through the stages of Alzheimer’s disease, illuminate what to expect in each phase, and how to navigate the accompanying emotional terrain with grace and resilience. 

We hope that with knowledge, supportive resources, and an empathetic community, caregivers feel empowered to transform this difficult journey into one of courage, compassion, and connection.

What is Alzheimer’s disease? 

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that gradually impairs cognitive function, causing difficulties with memory, thinking, and behavior. 

It’s the most common cause of dementia and accounts for 60-80% of cases. 

Typically, the onset of Alzheimer’s begins around the age of 65, though early-onset Alzheimer’s can occur in people as young as 40.

The disease is characterized by the formation of plaques and tangles in the brain, leading to the shrinking of brain tissue over time. 

Initial symptoms may be mild and include memory loss that disrupts daily life, challenges in problem-solving, difficulty completing familiar tasks, confusion with time or place, and changes in mood and personality.

Tips for caregivers:

  • Learn: Equip yourself with knowledge about Alzheimer’s disease from reliable medical sources and healthcare professionals. Let The Kensington Redondo Beach offer guidance on your loved one’s condition and caregiver support.
  • Observe: Make note of early symptoms in your loved one, such as forgetfulness, frequent confusion, or mood changes, and seek medical advice promptly.

What are the stages of Alzheimer’s disease? And what should I expect in each stage?

Alzheimer’s disease progresses through a series of stages that can last for different lengths of time. 

This progression is categorized into three main stages: Early (Mild), Middle (Moderate), and Late (Severe). It’s important to understand these stages to better manage expectations and plan for care effectively.

Early-Stage Alzheimer’s (2-4 years)

During this stage, the individual may experience subtle cognitive changes. Common symptoms include forgetting familiar words or locations, losing or misplacing valuable objects, and increased trouble planning or organizing.

Tips for caregivers:

  • Communicate: Have open and honest conversations about their symptoms and ask for their input on their own future care needs.
  • Support: Offer reminders and assist with day-to-day tasks.

Middle-Stage Alzheimer’s (2-10 years)

This stage is the longest and can last for many years. 

As the disease progresses, the person may start forgetting significant details such as their address or personal history, have difficulty recognizing friends and family, and start exhibiting personality and behavioral changes.

Tips for caregivers:

  • Routine: Maintain a consistent daily routine to minimize confusion and continue to offer help with their activities of daily living as needed.
  • Memory Aids: Use aids such as labels, pictures, and digital reminders to assist with daily tasks.

Late-Stage Alzheimer’s (1-3+ years)

In the final stage, individuals lose the ability to respond to their environment, carry a conversation, or control movement. They may still say words or phrases but communicating pain becomes difficult.

Tips for caregivers:

  • Comfort: Prioritize comfort and safety, as individuals at this stage require full-time, around-the-clock assistance.
  • Professional Care: Consider memory care communities that specialize in the care of late-stage Alzheimer’s patients.

Experiencing and coping with Alzheimer’s grief in your own way

Grieving the cognitive and physical decline of a loved one with Alzheimer’s is an expected part of the journey. Acknowledging this grief and finding healthy ways to cope is vital to your mental health.

Tips for caregivers:

  • Acknowledge: Slow down and recognize your feelings of grief. Understand that it’s a normal and valid response for caregivers and family members.
  • Reach Out: Seek support from professional counseling or therapy to help navigate your emotions, or even lean on a friend who’s willing to listen. 
  • Connect: Join Alzheimer’s support groups to share and learn from other caregivers experiencing the same journey. At The Kensington Redondo Beach, we host a bi-weekly caregiver support group with Lisa Bricker, Elder Care Consultant, Placement Specialist, and Founder of Gently Guided, LLC. This interactive group discussion is designed to help you understand and deal with both sides of caregiving: providing it and receiving it. We want you to feel comfortable and safe sharing whatever is on your mind.

Finding support throughout the journey of Alzheimer’s diagnosis

One of the most crucial elements in navigating the journey of Alzheimer’s is finding and accepting support. 

Know that you are not alone—many have walked this path before, and there are resources available to help you through it.

At The Kensington Redondo Beach, we understand the importance of community, togetherness, and shared experiences. We offer an array of resources, including webinars, classes, and free events designed to equip caregivers with practical knowledge and emotional support. 

Our community thrives on shared stories and experiences that provide comfort, advice, and a sense of belonging.

Tips for caregivers:

  • Connect: Join our caregiver support groups or online communities to share and learn from others experiencing the same journey, such as Kensington Konnect.
  • Educate: Participate in our webinars and classes to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and care strategies.
  • Reach Out: Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team for any questions or concerns you may have. We’re here to help and ready to listen.

Recognizing when professional care becomes necessary

There comes a point when professional help is needed to ensure the best quality of life for both you and your loved one. 

Memory care communities offer specialized, round-the-clock care, giving you peace of mind and freedom to enjoy quality time with your loved one without caregiving.

Tips for caregivers:

  • Evaluate: Be honest about the level of care your loved one requires and your ability to provide it.
  • Research: Explore the benefits of memory care communities and visit potential ones to ensure they meet your loved one’s needs.

The Kensington Redondo Beach can help ease Alzheimer’s grief

At The Kensington Redondo Beach, we understand the challenges you face and offer a beacon of support and professional care. 

Our memory care program is tailored to the needs of our residents, providing two specialized neighborhoods: Connections and Haven.

Connections is designed for early to mid-stage memory loss, providing extra supervision while maintaining a comfortable living environment. 

Haven caters to those in mid-to-advanced stages, offering an increased level of care and safety.

From rehabilitation services to specialized Alzheimer’s and dementia care, our offerings encompass a comprehensive range of care services. And with a focus on life enrichment—we ensure your loved ones enjoy their days to the fullest, taking part in various Kensington events.

Delicious and nutritious dining options are always available, and our blog provides a wealth of useful information for family members and caregivers. 

Let’s walk this path together, guided by Our Promise to love and care for your family as we do our own.

To learn more about how we can assist you and your loved ones, contact us today. We’re here to listen and eager to help.

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