Tips for Looking After Someone with Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s is a debilitating disease for those who are suffering from it. Oftentimes, their immediate family and friends can also find it difficult to adapt to this extreme change of circumstances. If you find yourself at a loss as to what to do, then fear not – read on to find out some tips for looking after someone that has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Have a Theoretical Understanding of Alzheimer’s
Taking some time to understand this disease from a theoretical viewpoint can help you in multiple ways. Firstly, by understanding it better, your own mental health is improved as you can feel more in control and plan out in advance, readying yourself for whatever the future may throw at you. Secondly, you can provide better care for your loved one and ensure that they have a positive life experience.
To this end, the Alzheimer’s 7 stages was developed. This framework progresses from the first stage (no impairment) all the way through to the seventh stage (very severe decline). Each stage provides tips on how to better care for a person suffering from Alzheimer’s. Having a solid theoretical understanding of this disease can help yourself, and your loved ones, to stay grounded and successfully overcome any challenges.
Take Care of Frustrations
A person experiencing Alzheimer’s may have difficulty carrying out once-basic tasks. They may sometimes realize this, thus making them frustrated. It’s important to reduce daily frustrations as much as you can in order to provide a good quality of life for them.
A key aspect of this is setting a daily schedule. While you should give some leeway for especially difficult days, it’s important to make sure that each day has a set routine that the individual can follow. Simultaneously, you should also try to involve the person with Alzheimer’s into this planning process as much as possible, allowing them to make some choices regarding their schedule – for example, would they want to go for a walk along the beach, or go see a movie?
Make Your House Alzheimer’s-Friendly
It’s important to make sure that your house is friendly for a person with Alzheimer’s – this means that their environment should promote safety and reduce risk of injury. A critical aspect of this is installing grab bars and/or handrails around the house, particularly the bathroom area, as they could easily slip and fall, potentially gravely injuring themselves. You should also try to buy non-slip bathmats, as well as installing grab rails in/around the shower or the bathtub. You should leave post-it notes around the house with various instructions – especially as the disease progresses, as the afflicted person will be less able to perform basic tasks and as such may need reminders. For example, leaving a note next to the oven to remind them to turn it off when done can be handy.
Overall, it’s important to realize that not everyone experiences this disease in the same way. However, some basic tips, such as proofing your house or removing daily hassles, can really help improve the quality of life of an individual with Alzheimer’s!