Caring & Helping Your Loved One With Alzheimer’s

Published May 25, 2015 in Alzheimer's  By  Covered Caregiver Information Desk
Caring & Helping

When Alzheimer’s begins to set during the early stages, functioning independently most often is not problematic. However, when the condition progresses, even simple tasks can become challenging and frustrating. So, as this stage begins to unfold, offering practical solutions can give an impression to your loved one that their dignity and freedom remains intact, though they are beginning to depend on others for even simple daily tasks. As seamless as you wish this to be, never forget that each individual’s needs might vary, but that the volume of challenges for anyone with Alzheimer’s remains the same.

Reduce the Possibility of Frustrations:

With Alzheimer’s, completing even the simplest daily tasks can be challenging and naturally, frustration will begin to creep in. Make it easier for your loved one by reducing their challenges. For example, scheduling wisely for doctor visits or grocery runs and other errands and making things predictable like when meals are to be eaten or TV shows to be watched, can minimize confusion for them.

Be Flexible:

With the progression of Alzheimer’s, things begin to change for your loved one. Even activities that were once done quickly, might take more time now. So plan more time for every task, so you don’t get frustrated being time bound. Get your loved one involved by letting them do whatever they can so it reduces their hassle. Of course, you would love to help them and also make things go faster, but it could be unconstructive and affect them negatively. Some things to remember are: Don’t give them a lot of choices, make your instructions simpler and reduce distractions when they are doing something.

Be aware that they might be moody and be adamant about things like wearing the same clothing every day, or not wanting to bathe every day. In such scenarios, come up with solutions like swapping a clean set of identical dresses when they’re taking a shower or swapping bathing for a towel bath every other day.

Reduce Risks:

With Alzheimer’s, their ability to reason, solve problems or even acting swiftly deteriorates. So, to keep your loved one safe from injury, you should keep your home an injury-free zone. You could do this by removing unwanted rugs, clutter and other unorganized material and add grab bars or handrails wherever needed. You can use locks for cabinets with hazardous items such as guns, alcohol, and cleaning products.

Keep lighters, matches and other hazardous objects out of reach and if it is a must for them to use anything hazardous, keep a close eye on them. For any unforeseen circumstances, have a fire extinguisher and other emergency items handy. Remember, these are just general guidelines for caring, though tweaking should be done according to the individual’s needs and requirements. Having said that, Alzheimer’s does take a toll on their health and behavior and aside from the mental aspect of Alzheimer’s disease, physical changes to their body will happen. It is important to remain patient, flexible, get help when needed and understand that challenges and frustrations will arise.