Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease that impairs memory, thinking, and judgement. It affects more than 5 million in the US. It is also the 6th leading cause of death and it accounts for a third of senior deaths. Although age is its highest risk factor, Alzheimer’s is not part of normal aging. It doesn’t have a cure, and it could not be prevented or slowed down.

Experts predict that by 2050, Alzheimer’s is expected to affect 14 million Americans and cost the nation more than 1 trillion dollars. As researchers struggle to find a cure to this disease, the best way to manage Alzheimer’s is through care.

But caring for an Alzheimer’s patient is a daunting task. It requires patience and flexibility, and it becomes more difficult as the disease progresses. Alzheimer’s care providers indicate emotional, physical, and financial difficulties, compared to their counterparts who care for non-Alzheimer’s patients.

The following are tips that Alzheimer’s care providers could use to manage their tasks more effectively.

Avoid Friction

Alzheimer’s patients could become agitated when what used to be simple tasks become difficult. This causes more stress, both on the patient and care provider. Care providers should:

  • Schedule wisely. Make a daily routine. Tasks like bathing or medical appointments are best done when the patient is most alert and refreshed. There should be flexibility for spontaneous activities. Anticipate that some days will be more difficult than usual.
  • Involve the patient. You may seek the help of the patient for tasks that require little assistance. For example, they might help setting up the table with visual cues. They could dress on their own if you lay out the clothes in the order they go on.
  • Take your time. Anticipate that tasks may take longer than they used to and allow more time when you do their schedule.
  • Provide choices. It will help the patient to have some—but not too many—choices every day, For example, you could provide two outfits to choose from, ask if they prefer hot or cold beverage, or if they prefer a walk in the park or seeing a movie.
  • Provide simple instructions. Alzheimer’s patients best understand clear, one-step communication.

alzheimer's patient with caregiver

Be Flexible

Routines for an Alzheimer’s patient should be flexible. Care providers must adapt to changes and variables. That way, the patient would not feel frustrated or pressured. Understand that they are going through something that degenerates their mental capacity. Even though they want, they could not function normally.

For example, if a patient wants the same food everyday, consider stocking up on it. If activities like bathing or grooming is met with resistance, consider doing it less often.

Create a Safe Environment

As Alzheimer’s worsen, the risk of the patient being injured increase. The disease after all targets a person’s judgement and problem-solving skills. In order for them to be safe, take note of the following:

  • Prevent falls. Avoid scatter rugs, extension cords and any clutter that could cause falls. Install handrails or grab bars in critical areas.
  • Use locks. Install locks on cabinets that contain anything potentially dangerous, such as medicine, toxic cleaning substances, and dangerous utensils/tools.
  • Check water temperature. Lower the thermostat on the hot-water heater to prevent burns.
  • Take fire safety precautions. Keep matches and lighters out of reach. If the person with dementia smokes, always supervise smoking. Make sure a fire extinguisher is accessible and the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries.

Individualize the Care

Alzheimer’s symptoms and progression is different from each patient. Each will have a unique experience. While some symptoms are universal, it is important to treat each case differently, and to develop a care plan based on what the patient needs.

Innovative Homecare Solutions, Inc., is one of the leading home care providers in Illinois. We believe that Aging can be an Awesome experience! We aim to restore dignity and promote independence in the comfort of your own home. To find out more about our services, call us at (779) 204-6600.