As people age, everyone expects a certain amount of cognitive decline in terms of a less sharp memory, reduced multitasking skills, and a mild reduction in speed of thought. Unfortunately, for the around 5.8 million people with Alzheimer’s disease, that decline becomes much more unmanageable over time. That can leave family members with a lot of questions and challenges in terms of care for Alzheimer’s patients.
If you care for a person with Alzheimer’s, keep reading. We’ll cover five excellent tips about how you can care for them more effectively and reduce the stress for you and them.
1. Create Routines
Routines help establish a sense of normalcy and familiarity for the person with Alzheimer’s. For example, you can always eat at the same time and go out at the same time. If possible, avoid altering the routine you establish.
If you must change the routine and you will at some point, introduce the changes as gently as you can.
2. Establish a Safe Environment
Alzheimer’s patients and dementia patients are much more prone to falls. That makes establishing a safe environment a key task when caring for Alzheimer’s patients.
Install handrails in slip areas. Remove things on the floor that might cause a stumble, such as loose rugs or cords. Secure medications, tools, and toxic substances in locked cabinets. Turn your water heater down so no one can get accidentally burned.
Communication will get increasingly difficult over time. Focus on clarity when speaking to someone with Alzheimer’s. That means using short sentences with smaller words when possible.
Limit the distractions in the room when you speak with them. For example, mute the television or turn off any music that is playing.
4. Encourage Socializing
Socializing has a lot of mental health benefits and supports a person’s sense of well-being. Within their limits, encourage socializing for the Alzheimer’s patient. That can mean something as simple as playing games with the family.
It can also mean looking for Alzheimer’s adult daycare options. These let the patient interact with others and can provide you with a break.
5. Get Professional Help
Caring for an Alzheimer’s patient can prove mentally, emotionally, and physically taxing on family members. You should consider home care for people with Alzheimer’s in the early stages. As the disease progresses, though, you want to place them in an assisted living plus facility that can provide them with the care they will eventually need.
Care for Alzheimer Patients and You
When a family member develops Alzheimer’s, you may decide to care for them yourself for a time. Care for Alzheimer’s patients requires a great deal of patience and will tax you over time.
Look for ways to minimize stress by focusing on things like routines, effective communication, and building a safe environment. You can also look for ways to give yourself a break, such as Alzheimer’s adult day care or in-home care. Eventually, you’ll need an assisted living option for them.
Looking for more adult care tips? Check out the posts in our Family Life section.