Dealing with memory loss can be really difficult, but taking care of a person who’s in such a condition is not an easy task either. Where Alzheimer's is a brain disease which affects a person’s memory with increasing age to such an extent that they find it difficult to do some simple and familiar tasks. In this condition the role of family members and caregivers get amplified as the person requires constant care. Here we have got some tips that one can follow in order to provide appropriate care to an Alzheimer's patient and help them out in this tough condition.
Where acceptance is the key and very first step towards helping out your loved one. Accepting that one of our family members is suffering from a brain disease like Alzheimer’s can be really difficult. Allow some time to yourself and the affected person to transit into this new phase and accept the news.
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Accepting the truth in such a condition can be pretty difficult but is always better than living in denial and being ignorant.
When someone said that education is not supposed to be limited to a four walled classroom, this is what they meant. One never stops learning and in conditions like this its value increases exponentially. In order to provide proper support and care to a patient it is important to learn about the disease, its symptoms, stages and behavioural changes. Here are a few points that will help you to understand the behavioural changes between a person suffering from mild, moderate and severe cases of Alzheimer’s.
- Can function independently
- Do participate in social gatherings
- Find it difficult to concentrate
- Can’t remember recent events
- Tend to forget or mix up certain names
- Face difficulty in writing
- Confusion and Memory loss
- Difficulty in recognising close friends/ relatives/ family members
- Trouble in performing simple tasks
- Change in personality
- Trouble in falling asleep
- Difficulty in following instructions.
- Getting lost or forgetting the path
- Lose ability to engage in a conversation
- Difficulty in recognising people
- Loss of sense of environment
- Need help with activities like eating walking and even sitting
#3. Follow a schedule
Making a schedule and following it in a routine is one of the most important aspects of taking care of an Alzheimer's patient. Creating a schedule and establishing a routine based upon it will not just help a caregiver but is very useful in many ways for the patient itself. When the patient with this kind of brain disease follows a routine, it helps to reinforce a sense of familiarity in the person.
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Try to avoid making noticeable and significant changes in the routine as these changes might confuse the patient. Try to implement any kind of change gradually as a person suffering from Alzhiemer’s requires time to adjust to new things.
#4. Engage in communication
Alzheimer's is one such disease that impacts a person’s communication skills and makes it difficult for them to express their emotions. As these people lose track in the middle and find it difficult to repeat themselves and find it difficult to remember certain words. Engaging in communication with the patient can be very helpful. To make the communication easier the caregiver can-
- Use a relaxed body language
- Maintain an eye contact
- Try to stay calm
- Ask one question at a time
- Speak in a calm voice
#5. Dietary habits
As it is important to make the patient feel familiar with the surroundings and their routine, their eating habits and time should also be planned. As an Alzheimer's patient can not remember what and when they had their last meal, have trouble swallowing and chewing, lose their ability to taste and are not aware about their meal times, the caregiver’s responsibilities get increased.
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In order to ensure that the patient is getting sufficient amount of nutrients and is having all the meals on time a caregiver can take the following points into consideration-
- Serving in colorful crockery so that it highlights the food.
- Encourage the patient to take multivitamins
- Serve food items that are easy to chew and swallow
- Serve meals at the same time each day.
#6. Safety is important
As an Alzheimer's patient is not aware of its environment and certain things happening around them, they might end up hurting themselves in such cases and hence a caregiver can help them stay safe. As these patients often get confused and are not able to read the signs correctly, a caregiver’s responsibility to keep them safe and out of any danger increases. Although it can be done by following a few simple steps-
- Padding sharp furniture corners
- Installing safety locks on stoves
- Limiting the number of mirrors
- Turning the temperature of geysers and boilers down
- Putting colored tapes on edges of steps to avoid tripping
#7. Boost their self esteem
Image Credits- Five Star Home Healthcare
Having self confidence and self esteem are the two most important aspects that can help a person to feel more like themselves. A high self esteem also helps to alleviate a person’s anxiety to a certain extent. A patient’s self esteem can be boosted by making them feel better about themselves. This can be done by helping a patient in maintaining a proper hygiene and grooming them by-
- Keeping the patient’s nails trimmed
- Brushing with them
- Getting them some lose and comfortable clothing
- Allowing them time to select their outfit and dressing up themselves
- Getting clothes that are easy to wear and have zips, elastics and velcros instead of complicated buttons and laces.
Dealing with alheimer’s can be tough and not just for the patient but their family member too. Keeping an eye on the patient in order to keep them safe, following a routine so that they can keep up, being calm and patient so that they feel comfortable and taking care of all big and small things around can be quite difficult at times. Although it takes a while to deal with the changes happening around and hence a caregiver has a lot to do.
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