Alzheimer’s disease is the cause for about 60-80 percent of all dementia cases. It is a type of dementia that is a progressive disease. Alzheimer’s will lead to memory loss and the loss of other cognitive abilities that increases overtime to where daily tasks will become difficult.
Alzheimer’s affects thinking, remembering, and reasoning. It can also affect the ability to carry on conversations as well as how to respond to the environment. Daily tasks such as bathing, getting dressed, and eating can become difficult.
As a caregiver it can be daunting to take on the role to help your loved one with this disease. The main goal will be to help your loved one complete daily tasks and monitoring them will become a priority.
Keeping a routine can be hugely helpful to someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Having a schedule for when they get up, when they shower and get dressed, and when they eat will help them to function in a calm manner. This can help reduce stress and allow them to know what to expect.
Keep a Set Sleep Schedule
Regular times for sleeping and waking are also important. Allowing too many naps during the day can cause their day, night cycles to be reversed.
Schedule Appointments Appropriately
When having to schedule appointments or outings, schedule them for the time when your loved one is most alert and oriented. This can help make the task feel less daunting to them. Be flexible with extra tasks or appointments on harder days.
Remember to add in extra time when doing certain things, because normal daily tasks will start to take longer.
We all like to have choices. Making decisions can be difficult for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease. When possible give your loved one choices that are simple. Let them pick between two shirts when getting dressed.
If you go out for food at a restaurant, help them with the menu showing them options you think they would like and help them pick out something.
Try not to overwhelm them with choices, and if the decision making is too hard either step away from the choice and come back to it if possible, or nicely and calmly help them choose.
Avoid Loud Sounds
Excess sound can be very overwhelming for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Limiting excess sound can be hugely helpful and alleviate stress. The radio, TV, people talking all at once, loud department stores or restaurants can all have excess sound.
When watching television or listening to the radio, turn down the sound. Limit radio and television that is interrupted by commercials. Commercials can be confusing as well as louder than the normal show you are watching.
Turn off background sound. If you are talking, mute or turn off any other sounds that could be distracting.
If there are loud noises outside, make sure windows are closed.
In a gathering, have fewer people so the talking stays to a low level.
Approach All Tasks With Patience
If there are still tasks your loved one can help with or finds joy doing let them help. Give them clear one step communication and directions when they are looking to help you or if you need them to do something. If they complete a task that brings them joy, but it isn’t done well or correctly, avoid trying to correct them or pointing it out.
If they start doing meaningless tasks that make no sense to you, don’t criticize. As long as the task is not harmful, allow them to go about completing it. When trying to complete a task, if it becomes too frustrating, determine if the task is necessary. It is ok to take a step back or take a break.
Another thing that is important is to try not to rush your loved one, and make sure you only keep the focus on one task at a time. Jumping around from task to task may cause confusion and stress.
Know Stress Triggers
Recognize triggers that increase stress. This could be loud noises, being hurried, long days, or being somewhere that is unfamiliar. Being patient with a loved one can be key to helping keep them less agitated and stressed.
When there is a memory laps or a time where they forget something try not to fill in the gaps for them or speak over them. It can cause them to feel anxious or angry because they are having trouble remembering.
Alzheimer’s disease affects a person’s thinking, remembering, and reasoning. It can cause the ability to do normal daily tasks to decline. It is important if you have a family member with Alzheimer’s to help them stay on routine as best as you can. Be patient, things may start to take longer than you are used to. Remember to be flexible.
Some days will be better than others with this disease.
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Caring for someone with Alzheimer's can be daunting! As a caregiver it is important to not get discouraged:) #HealthSurgeon