When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s it can be a very difficult time. As the disease progresses, so will the level of care your loved one needs. These practical tips can help you in caring and helping a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, meaning that, at first, there may only be subtle changes to your loved one’s behaviors and memory. Educating yourself on Alzheimer’s is the best way to understand and help your loved one. It is also important that your loved one understands and knows everything they can about the disease, as it will help them make important decisions and plans for the future. Make sure this is a talk you have early on.
Creating a Safe Space
While your loved one is living at home or under your care, it’s essential to create a safe space. Those with Alzheimer’s are more likely to injure themselves as their condition can impair judgement. Lock away anything that may cause harm, such as medications and toxic substances. Avoid anything that may cause falls, such as rugs or clutter. Check the temperature of the water in the house and turn this down to a safe level to avoid scalds. For more information, check out the Alzheimer’s Association website.
Those living with Alzheimer’s may find themselves becoming increasingly agitated as simple daily tasks become problematic. There are many ways in which you can limit these frustrations. Establishing a routine can help in limiting this frustration, and working around your loved one is key. If they are at their best in the morning, use this time to get dressed and ready for the day.
Don’t rush and give your loved one all the time they need to complete activities. For as long as they are able, offer as much independence as required. For example, they may want to dress themselves but you may wish to leave their clothes laid out in the correct order so they don’t become puzzled. Always offer your loved one a choice; these should be simple and prompted, such as whether they prefer a walk in the park or around the shops.
Find a Suitable Home
If your loved one is living alone or with yourself, it may be time to think about moving them to a more suitable home, either now or in the future as their disease progresses. This can be a difficult choice, but remember, it’s okay to ask for help; caring for those with Alzheimer’s is a 24/7 job, but if you have other things going on, it may be safer for your loved one to be in assisted living. For example, McKnight Place offers memory care for those with conditions such as Alzheimer’s, where your loved one can spend their day with others, making friends and taking part in many events and outings. Here, you can rest assured knowing they are safe and cared for by those trained in memory care, all while having their own private space to retreat to.
Understanding Alzheimer’s will aid you in providing the best level of care for your loved one. Ensure their home is safe, limit frustrations, and consider assisted living if you are worried about their safety and cannot provide the care they require.