When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, it can be challenging to know what to do. This article provides tips on caring for them at home and managing the environment for their safety. Coping with the stress of care giving can be tricky, but resources are available to help.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s Disease is a type of dementia that leads to thinking, memory, and behavior problems. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time. Early on, people may experience mild forgetfulness. As the disease progresses, they may have difficulty completing familiar tasks, behaving in socially inappropriate ways, or may lose the ability to speak or understand language.
Scientists have not yet fully understood what is causing Alzheimer’s Disease. Still, they believe that it may be caused by combined environmental and genetic factors. Some possible contributing factors include age, head trauma, and high blood pressure.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to caring for someone with Alzheimer’s at home, but there are some general guidelines that can help. The following tips can help create a safe and supportive environment for your loved one.
Establishing a Routine
Establish a routine and stick to it as much as possible. Alzheimer’s can be confusing and disruptive, so a set schedule can help provide some stability. Try to include activities that your parent enjoys and provide opportunities for social interaction.
For example, you might start the day with breakfast, followed by some light exercise, then a few hours of activities such as reading, puzzles, or visiting with friends. Finish the day with dinner and a relaxing activity before bed.
Making the Home Environment Safe
To make the home safe for your parent, you’ll need to do a bit of “child-proofing.” Ensure that the environment is easy to navigate. Remove any potential hazards such as loose rugs or electrical cords. Keep clutter to a minimum to avoid trips and falls. Be sure medications are stored safely and out of reach.
You may also want to consider making changes to the home itself. For instance, install grab bars in the bathroom and handrails in hallways. Add railings on stairways. Ensure that entryways are well-lit and clearly marked.
As the disease progresses, your parent may have difficulty communicating. They may become frustrated or agitated when they can’t express themselves. It’s essential to be patient and try to understand what they’re trying to say. Listen carefully and use short, simple sentences. Avoid arguing or correcting them.
Remember, people with Alzheimer’s Disease are still the same person, just with a different way of communicating. Try to focus on their feelings rather than the words they’re using.
Getting Help with In-Home Care
There will come a time when you cannot do all the care by yourself. Hire professional in-home care services that specialize in dementia care. This is important because people with dementia have special needs. Professionals specializing in their care will know how to adequately meet these needs.
In-home care services can provide much-needed respite for caregivers. They can also help with activities of daily living such as bathing, eating, and dressing. Home health aides can also provide transportation to doctor’s appointments and run errands.
When choosing an in-home care service, interview several providers and check references. Ask about their experience in caring for people with dementia. Choose a provider you feel comfortable with, and you think will do a good job caring for your parent.
Getting Emotional Support
Even with professional in-home care, having a parent with Alzheimer’s can be difficult and physically and emotionally demanding. Taking care of yourself is essential to being there for your loved one.
Make sure to eat healthy meals, exercise regularly, and get plenty of rest. Consider joining a support group or seeing a counselor who can help you deal with stress. Get support from family and friends.
Caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s Disease can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There are resources available to help you through this difficult time. Make use of available online resources providing advice on coping with the situation.
The Alzheimer’s Association offers information and support for caregivers. The National Institute on Aging also has resources for caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.
Cherish Your Moments with Your Loved One
When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it can be challenging to know what to do. By following these tips, you can create a safe and supportive environment for your parent. You can provide the best possible care while also taking care of yourself. Taking care of yourself is also essential to ensure you can be there for your loved one and cherish every moment together.