With about 5.3 million seniors in the United States suffering from Alzheimer's, chances are you know someone who has some personal experience with this trying disease. For family members, watching a loved one suffer can be especially difficult. However, there are some steps you can take to offer the best support.

Be Patient
Elders with Alzheimer's are known to repeat themselves frequently. Because of this, holding a conversation with him or her may become frustrating at times. It is important to have patience, despite any frustration you feel during your interactions. For example, when talking to a woman with Alzheimer's, she might say, "My grandson always carries my groceries. Isn't that nice?” Five minutes later, she might repeat that. Instead of retorting with "I know, you already said that", try responding as if she did not repeat herself. Validate what they say with a positive, thoughtful response. It is okay to move on, if necessary, to a different topic altogether.

Encourage Exercise
Exercise is the most underutilized remedy. Nowadays, doctors are recommending exercise for various illnesses such as depression, obesity, and even cancer. There is a reason for that—exercise really does have numerous benefits. It can even benefit someone with Alzheimer's. In order to encourage your loved one to exercise, offer to do an activity together. A care specialist from Cornerstone Hospice and Palliative Care says a simple activity, such as taking a walk or starting a garden together, can provide an uplifting experience for a person suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Establish Routine
Routine is one of the most important aspects to someone with Alzheimer's. If his or her daily schedule is inconsistent, it may be more difficult. However, if there is an established routine, perhaps he or she will be more likely to remember to brush their teeth or make breakfast.

Find Familiarity
Depending on the time period in which one grew up, one may be more familiar with some aspects than others. A senior who was a kid in the forties may be intimidated by a smartphone or a TV that comes with five different remotes. You may view the ever-changing advancements in technology as a way to make your life easier. On the other hand, it may seem too complicated to someone who did not grow up in the computer age. Place items in the house that they are familiar with. This can prevent them from feeling overwhelmed or confused.

To help a loved one with Alzheimer's, be supportive, patient, and able to make accommodations that will comfort your loved one. Always focus on what you can do best today and use that to determine what you can do better in the future.

Author's Bio: 

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She graduated from the University of California-Sacramento with a degree in Journalism. She interviews with small businesses and educational institutions regularly to learn new career building strategies.