In many cases when someone is diagnosed with a serious disease like Alzheimer’s, those closest to them, may decide to personally care for them at home. This may not always be possible. There are certainly some fine care facilities that exist to help in extreme situations. Please understand that in these facilities, as fine as they may be, they can not maintain or help revisit a persons memories.
The kind of care that can be given by someone who loves the person can be high quality care compared to any Alzheimer’s care facility. Care that adds to the dignity, comfort and overall feeling of security for the patient. With daily interaction of a loved one as caregiver their connection to memories and self can survive longer.
They can stay connected to their memories longer and still get a feeling of comfort and a sense of well being. Sharing part of a memory they remember and you filling in the missing pieces makes them feel connected. It makes them worry less and fear less. They feel they are were they belong and safe.
Choosing to be a caregivers is not an easy choice especially with Alzheimer’s disease. It will require good communication amongst everyone involved. You will need planning, extra help, and an awareness of what is available to you in the way of community services.
In the case of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s, there are some basic approaches that can help. You want to ensure that the quality of their lives is preserved to the best extent possible. Alzheimer’s can progress at different rates. It may be that your loved one has many good months or even years ahead. It is good to plan to make the most of these times.
Arrange to participate in activities that have always been of interest to them whenever possible. Do they enjoy going for walks in the park? Going to Museums, or on a picnic? Some people find sitting near the water restful and rejuvenating. Others like to be where there is a little bit of socializing and action going on, like at a mall or a local fair.
Or perhaps family visits and meals. Arranging activities that have always been a source of pleasure it will help to keep your loved one involved. This may help stimulate, to some degree, their mental abilities. At the very least it will contribute to their sense of self-esteem and dignity and contribute to their overall health.
With the progression of Alzheimer’s comes the increasing difficulty to express clearly one’s thoughts and desires. The caregiver will need to take a calm and patient approach while keeping their tone light. It has been suggested, that using shorter sentences, that perhaps contain one simple idea at a time will lessen the possibility of added confusion. Give thoughtful, kind eye contact and allow sufficient time for them to complete their thoughts.
Another area to give attention is providing a home environment that will ensure the safety of someone who may at times be unaware of certain hazards. This may mean locking securely certain substances such as cleaning solutions, painting products or any chemicals that would be harmful if ingested.
It would be good to find a system of monitoring any medication that the person may need to take. Just in case they have a bad day and forget their prescribed dose. Not just counting the pills or assuming they were taken. You may find the need to watch and make sure medications are taken and not hidden or thrown out. Ask the doctor what to do in case a dose is missed with each medication so you know ahead of time what to do.
The home may need to be prepared to allow for protected movement. For example, staircases may need a small gate to prevent falling. Area rugs may need to be taped down to prevent slipping. Furniture may need to be moved or removed to allow a greater freedom of movement. Especially if a wheelchair is needed at some point.
As well, it is good to install solid grab bars in the washroom. It may be advisable to install a shower chair. Perhaps invest in a tub that allows the person to enter through a small door instead of stepping over the side. This will help eliminate some of the chances of your loved one falling and seriously hurting themselves.
Caring of someone with Alzheimer’s will be a challenge. Caring for the person you love as they go through this difficult time is life changing for the caregiver too. Providing your loved one a measure of dignity and a sense of security is something that has it’s own deep rewards.