Caring for an Alzheimer’s patient can be a formidable task. It can often be heartbreaking. As the illness moves forward, you can’t count on the same comforting routine of care to continue working. As symptoms worsen, adapting is of key significance. At the same time you are caring for the patient, you also need support yourself. Without looking after yourself, you can’t adequately look after your Alzheimer patient. There are some steps you can take as the caregiver to keep a firm grasp on your own sanity and still handle the difficulties of caring for someone with the disease.
Understanding the diagnosis
Finding out a friend or family member has Alzheimer’s is heart-wrenching. You need to understand that eventually they may not recognize you. There are a couple of things you can do to deal with the diagnosis. A first good step is arming yourself with as much information as you can find. Talk with the doctor and seek support groups where you can share with others in your situation. Be prepared for the eventuality that you’ll have to call in for help – either home medicare or a special needs living community. Understand the feelings you are dealing with are very normal. Most people coping with this situation have had the same feelings.
Plan for the future
Wills, power of attorney, and medical care should all be mapped out while the Alzheimer’s patient still understands what is occurring. Most of all, know when to request help.
Attempting to communicate
As Alzheimer’s becomes more severe, communication can breakdown between the patient and caregiver. It’ll be challenging, but staying positive and injecting that into your tone of voice helps and keeps the patient from feeling frustrated. When you talk with them, do so in a calm demeanour, using short sentences and straightforward words. Never talk down to them. While they might not understand what you are talking about, they could still “feel” the perspective behind the words. Be patient when waiting for a reply. Occasionally, you may not get one. Sometimes they might be battling with words they have a hard time expressing.
Grooming and dressing tips
With the progression of Alzheimer’s comes confusion. Some patients become afraid of washing themselves. Others look at zippers and buttons as if they are alien devices. In a way, they are alien. Your job as the caregiver is to make certain that they do not hurt themselves and to take over when independence is no longer a possibility. Thay may mean the employment of incontinence products. It might mean selecting all of the clothing they’re to wear and eliminate any calls they would have to make. Installation of safety devices like handrails and skid-proof bath mats may be necessary.
Eating and Exercise
Alzheimer’s patients can forget to eat on occassion, so having a regular schedule of daily snacks and meals helps maintain a feeling of balance. If coordination becomes an issue, finger foods and straws for drinks can help. Serving many mini-meals can help when attention wanders too often to have a full meal. Taking daily walks or merely lazing in the sunlight is advantageous to patients with the illness. If they’re able, engage them in a straightforward activity like picking wildflowers or leaves. By spotting and predicting the worsening of Alzheimer’s symptoms, you may be prepared to face the issues of care for a patient or loved one.
When you’re at the end of your rope, ask for help. Perhaps a member of the family can “babysit” for a couple of hours so you can get out and watch a movie or go for a stroll. Don’t forget that your local Alzheimer’s support groups can help you handle the problems you are facing. You’ll know that you aren’t alone.