If you look after a person with Alzheimer's disease or a similar disease such as dementia, as the disease progresses, your role in daily activities will become more significant. Taking care of Alzheimer's disease and dementia requires patience and flexibility. During the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, most people can work independently. They can continue to drive, participate in social activities, volunteer services, and even work. Your role as a caregiver is essential: provide support and companionship and form a plan for the future.
"Early" refers to people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or related diseases and are in the early stages of the disease, regardless of age. The early stages of Alzheimer's disease can last for several years.
Consider some practical tips for effective task management.
Tips for Caregivers Dealing with Alzheimer’s and Dementia
To limit frustration and challenges:
- Plan your time wisely, and establish daily work. When a person is most alert and fresh, perform tasks such as bathing or doctor appointments. Ensure flexibility in spontaneous activities, especially tricky days.
- It is expected that tasks can take longer. Take some time to rest during the job.
- Let people with dementia do as much as possible with the least help.
- Every day provides choices, but not too many, as the patient may get confused.
- Provide simple instructions. People with dementia best understand and communicate step by step.
- Limit nap hours throughout the day. It can minimize the risk of day and night reversals.
- Turn off the TV and minimize other distractions during meals, including conversations to help people with dementia concentrate.
Over time, people with dementia become more dependent. To decrease frustration, be flexible, and adapt your procedures and expectations according to their needs. For example, if the patient wants to wear the same clothes every day, consider buying several sets of the same clothes. If the patient resists the bath, then the frequency of use should be reduced.
Create a safe environment
Dementia can impair judgment and problem-solving skills, increasing the risk of injury. To improve security:
- Avoid using extended carpets, extension cords, and anything that may cause falls. Install handrails in critical areas.
- Install locks on cabinets containing all potential hazards, such as medicines, alcohol, firearms, toxic cleaners, dangerous utensils, and tools.
- Keep the water temperature checked to avoid burns.
- Keep matches and lighters out of reach.
Focus on personalized care
Everyone with Alzheimer's disease experiences different symptoms and progress. These practical tips tailored to the needs of family members. Patience and flexibility, along with care and support of friends and family, can help caregivers dealing with Alzheimer's patients cope with future challenges and failures.
Help people with dementia live a healthy life.
The ability to stay healthy, engaged, active, and independent is the consistent desire of newly diagnosed people. Nursing plays an essential role in helping dementia patients achieve these goals.
- Encourage physical exercise. According to the results of some studies, regular physical exercise can make a better life. You can plan activities that you both can enjoy.
- Prepare a balanced diet with low-fat and high-vegetable meals.
- Establish a routine that promotes good sleep and input with others.
- Identify situations that may cause stress for people with dementia.
- Work together to find the factors that help a person relax.
The more you educate on the disease, the greater confidence and readiness to solve problems in the future as the disease develops. Knowing what to expect and planning can strengthen you and those with dementia.
If you are a family member or nursing partner of a person with Alzheimer's, stay involved. Make frequent phone calls or visits, and make sure that they receive the help they need, such as housekeeping, eating, transporting, paying bills, and other duties. Take home security measures and be aware of any changes that indicate the need for additional supervision or care.