Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s is one of the biggest challenges a person can face. This article reviews the various aspects of caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease that all caregivers should consider. From the recognizable stages of the disease to tips on making sure you have the tools you need to tackle a disease as complex and unpredictable as Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s generally manifests in older people, from the age of 70, although cases can occur at younger ages.
This disease is characterized by loss of memory, communication, cognitive skills, and, in a more advanced state, even forgetfulness of motor functions. It is a disorder that gradually disables the patient of his abilities as a person. Someone’s help and support are needed to make the process less harsh.
Caregiving of a dementia patient is not an easy task, it is an ailment that shows the decline of a person who has forgetfulness, mood swings, and even moments of aggressiveness.
The Biggest Alzheimer’s Caregiver Challenges
The more the disease progresses, the more difficult it becomes to apply the mindfulness method for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease. The difficulties of caring for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s are grouped into two categories:
all the difficulties that the natural caregiver is confronted with on a personal level and those with which he is confronted by providing care to his affected loved one.
The caregiver of a person with Alzheimer’s disease could be strained financially, emotionally, and even legally. It is a terrible experience for a person not to be recognized by a loved one after so many years by their side. Remember that this has absolutely nothing to do with you, it is only the nature of the disease.
Not to mention that it is difficult to have to spend large sums of money in care to come to the decision on whether it is necessary to give a power of attorney, and if so, when and to whom.
The challenges facing caregivers of people with dementia are very difficult. First of all, your loved one’s faculties may fluctuate from hour to hour or from day to day. So don’t expect their behavior to be constant.
When an older person enters the advanced stage of Alzheimer’s disease, you may have to help them go to the bathroom and clean up accidents and messes.
Having to constantly watch a senior can also become a source of anxiety, as your loved one is prone to lose the bearings and cognitive faculties necessary to be able to return home.
This Alzheimer’s and dementia care guide will help you deal with the challenges and the support you need. The non-professional caregiver must be prepared for these moments and learn to live with the obstacles that are going to present themselves. For this it is important to take our tips along with the doctor’s advice.
Tips to Help you care for someone with Alzheimer’s patience
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The best advice we can give you when it comes to caring for someone with dementia is to have patience.
However, if you follow our tips for family caregivers with dementia patients. You and your family will experience it with less difficulty.
An early diagnosis is essential, both for the patient and for the family and/or caregiver. The doctor will be able to explain the existing treatments and prescribe the most suitable for the patient.
Talk to a specialist
The specialist doctor will offer information and advice to deal with the disease, as well as patient associations that will be a great support during the process.
The situations in which the caregiver will find themselves will push their emotions to the limit. It is important to remain calm, it will be beneficial both for your emotional health and for the tranquility of the patient.
As the disease progresses, forgetfulness will be more frequent and it will be necessary to repeat things on different occasions.
Inform relatives or close friends
It is necessary to inform relatives or close friends about the disease so that they can understand the changes that are going to take place. They can also offer help if necessary, or support in the care.
However, one must be respectful of the dignity and privacy of the patient and take into account who and what is reported.
Establish some routines, habits
In the early stages of the disease, the patient can live independently, although it is important to establish some routines, habits and visit them regularly.
When we see that the disease progresses, we can gradually increase the help so that he does not feel offended and stay with him continuously. Dementia patients will lose information, but the feelings remain.
Write down or record the information
Your loved one may not remember the key points that are discussed at medical appointments. If you can’t go, suggest that the patient bring a digital recorder or a friend to take notes.
As the disease progresses, you will not be able to take charge of making decisions. It is important that before the disease progresses, papers are arranged: banking, bills, insurance, property, medical authorizations, etc.
Later it will be very complicated and will lead to legal processes, sometimes stressful.
Stay active, both mentally and physically
The role of the caregiver is not easy, it will present complicated situations in which you have to constantly repeat things with a dementia patient, or help them eat. Since they will forget how to put the spoon in their mouth, or clean themselves because they have had a bathroom accident, etc.
It is important: do not yell at them, do not scare them, do not scold them, do not argue, etc. Patience will be one of the key points of a successful caregiver.
Even if we have to be at home, this cannot serve as an excuse to forget about physical exercise. Performing at least 20 minutes of exercise every day will also help us sleep better. We can even perform simple exercises in which our family members can also participate.
Eat a balanced diet for our physical and mental well-being: The anxiety and boredom that this period of isolation generates can lead us to eat more than we need and to choose unhealthy foods.
It is important to eat properly not only so as not to gain weight during this quarantine period but also because a good diet will help us improve our immune system.
Keep a positive attitude
While no treatment can stop Alzheimer’s, some medications can ease its symptoms. And a healthy lifestyle that includes staying active and socially integrated, allows a person with dementia to have a life with meaning and dynamism for many years.
The patient themselves will have mood swings due to the problems they are going through, sometimes they will be due to known causes and in others, they will arise suddenly. It is important to know what kinds of activities calm you or what you can do to calm down the patient.
In more advanced stages, the patient may have aggressive behaviors. In those moments, the best thing is to give them space and not to fight.
If these behaviors become frequent or it is not possible to control them, perhaps it is time that another type of professional help is sought or a place where they can take better care of them.
There are basic, low-cost changes that include removing trip hazards such as carpets, making sure the home is well lit (use automatic night lights). Do not forget to install safety devices such as guardrails, grab bars, and adjustable chairs for the shower.
Avoid wandering around. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 6 out of 10 people with dementia leave home and wander. With a predictable routine, disorientation and subsequent excursions can be avoided.
You can also consider installing remote control locks or alarms on doors, or locks at height or lower sides that are not visible to the naked eye.
Organize Medical Information
Every caregiver needs to maintain the medical records of his/her indoor patients. Being a family or a professional caregiver, it’s necessary to keep medical information, documents, and records well-organized. These records are permanent records of a patient’s illness or other health-related concerns. After all, it helps in making effective communication between healthcare professionals and patients with clarity and accuracy. Even, having good medical records ensures that a patient’s needs are met comprehensively.
Advantage of new technologies for Alzheimer’s patients
Using social networks, video calls, WhatsApp groups… so as not to feel isolated and to be able to contact our family and friends.
If at any time you feel overwhelmed with the situation, do not hesitate to ask for help from close people. Do not feel alone and support each other.
One thing is certain, the lingering effects of the disease on caregivers will be very difficult to manage, especially when the affected person is a family member.
Make sentences short; the more information they contain, the more confused your loved one is and the more difficult it is for them to understand what you are saying. When planning the day, try, if possible, to avoid altering the routine.
Try to maintain the physical appearance as he/she was before her health began to decline in order to give a certain sense of normalcy. You’ll also need to stay practical and prioritize based on your health since simpler activities like brushing your teeth or showering can become a challenge.
You can consult Justin Villa Care today and learn about your loved one’s disease. This will help you know what to expect as dementia progresses and what you can do.
For more information visit our Google My Business Page – Justin Villa Care, LLC – Caregivers For Seniors