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Alzheimer’s Diseases: How to Take Care of the Patient at Home

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Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurologic disease that is gradually increasing at a drastic rate. It is a medical condition, a type of dementia affecting one’s memory, behavior, and thinking as the brain shrinks (atrophy) or when the brain cells die. It is usually seen in old people, mostly who are aged above 65 years. In today’s time, throughout the world, Alzheimer’s disease is considered to be one of the primary causes of disability and dependency among senior citizens and the seventh leading cause of death among all diseases. [1]

Alzheimer’s disease is not only a challenging health concern for the patient but also for every family member or those who stay with the patient at home. When any aged loved ones are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, their family has to come forward to take care of them as long as possible. It can be highly beneficial if patients stay in a familiar environment, which is their home, but as their mental health declines, it would be even more difficult to take care of them.

There is no such definite solution in care for Alzheimer’s patients, so the caregivers usually devise their strategies to address the unique mixed symptoms of the patients. Furthermore, the effectiveness of certain ways employed in patient care at home is likely to change during the course of the patient’s illness. In that case, the only way to figure out what would work best for the patient is through constant trial and error. [3]

A caretaker of an Alzheimer’s patient must keep some things in mind which are recommended by the doctor. Continue reading to know about them in detail.

1. Come Up with a Daily Routine Care

By establishing a daily sequence of activities and tasks for Alzheimer’s patients, they can stay focused and oriented all day. The daily plan can be made after observing the routines of the patients and looking for patterns in their behavior and mood. Keep in mind the abilities and preferences of the patients may change at different times of the day, so be flexible and try to adapt when required. It is very important to have clear communication and understanding with the patients to facilitate the daily care tasks. [3]

2. Plan Engaging Activities and Encourage Socialization

Caregivers can keep Alzheimer’s patients active and interested by engaging them in different routine activities like cooking, walking, watching a movie, playing games, dancing, visiting friends and relatives, and many more. So, in a daily care plan, incorporate meaningful activities and hobbies that match the patient’s abilities and interests. It’s always recommended to build on their current skills instead of teaching something new. If the patient is getting agitated or frustrated, redirect their attention to something else. [1, 3]

3. Encourage and Support with Short Term Memory

In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the patients may need some assistance and prompt to help with their tasks that involve the use of memory and thinking. This includes handling money and bills, remembering words and names, scheduling appointments, or keeping track of medications. A caretaker’s role must be to encourage the patients to try to cooperate and only help when they are not able to do that task on their own after their failed attempts. Also, they must be encouraged to make reminders to help them remember things. [1]

4. Try to Provide a Secure Environment

Alzheimer’s can have an impact on the problem-solving and judgment abilities of the patients, which can increase their risk of injury. So, the caretaker must encourage safety by taking certain precautions to avoid fire, burns fall, and any type of injury. All medicines, alcohol, poisonous cleaning products, firearms, and potentially hazardous tools and utensils must be kept away from their reach and locked. Also, ensure that the patient’s room does not have items cluttered here and there. [1]

5. Take Care of Eating Habits

The caretaker must adjust the meals for the patients to check on the nutrients they would need to maintain a healthy weight. Some patients are reported to crave constantly for food while some do struggle to consume sufficient minerals and calories. The patients must be allowed to choose what they want to eat, small meals must be given throughout the day, and the food must be served in utensils that they can easily hold. [1]

6. Research on the Behavior of Alzheimer’s Patients and Manage Them

Some of the behaviors usually seen in Alzheimer’s patients include sun downing (getting restless, agitated, and irritated in late afternoons and evenings) and sleep problems, wandering, hallucinations and delusions. As a caretaker, steps must be taken to manage these behaviors and avoid any mis-happening like getting eloped or lost. [3]

7. Deal with Driving Issues of Alzheimer’s Patients

Alzheimer’s patients have impaired cognitive and physical abilities, which are very much needed to safely drive automobiles. So, even if the patients knew to drive earlier, they no longer must be allowed to do the same. The patients may vehemently resist that so instead of arguing with them provide them other options for transportation so that their routine is not affected. [3]

What to do about Burnout in Alzheimer’s Caregivers?

The care for any kind of dementia can be emotionally challenging and improbably demanding. Alzheimer’s caregivers can overcome their difficulties in dealing with Alzheimer’s patients and even their burnout by being patient and flexible, prioritizing self-care, and also receiving from friends and family.

To take care of Alzheimer’s patients, the caretaker and care recipient can even consider in-home services by professional caregivers. Some of them could provide non-medical aids like daily assistance while others can provide medical care from a licensed health professional. These in-home services include personal care services (like eating, dressing, exercising, bathing, toileting, etc.), homecare services (like doing daily household chores, shopping, or cooking), companion services (like recreation activities and supervision), and skilled care services (such as wound care, physical therapy, giving injections, etc.). [1,2,3]

References:

  1. https://www.thehealthsite.com/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-diseases-how-to-take-care-of-the-patient-at-home-910991/
  2. https://www.alz.org/help-support/caregiving/care-options/in-home-care
  3. https://www.agingcare.com/articles/alzheimers-disease-care-at-home-139990.htm

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