Caring for people living with Alzheimer’s disease can be a challenging task. As their health declines, so does their ability to complete the simple tasks in life. Watching your loved one go through this slow degeneration can be difficult, but having family and friends there to support you is the best way to hurdle these challenges. Alzheimer’s patients often times will have mixed emotions for the caregiver, as they are either wanting to be more independent or the opposite, of feeling lonely and confused about what is happening to their body and mind. Caregivers can help cope with the changing personalities and routines of the patient, by focusing on reducing frustrations, being flexible, creating a safe environment and focusing on individual care.
Being able to reduce frustrations when dealing with Alzheimer’s patients is key to success. Sticking to a clear cut, simple schedule can help people with Alzheimer’s not get confused and will get them into a routine. Flexibility with these patients is also crucial because each day is a new day. Not getting frustrated with their decline in simple tasks will help keep the patients calm. Always be patient with them and minimize the daily task expectations, as they will eventually not realize they are, for example, not brushing their teeth everyday as they should.
Alzheimer’s patients will carry more of a safety risk as they are slowly losing their memory as well. Keeping them in a safe environment and keeping a close eye on their everyday tasks is needed in order to prevent injury. This can be accomplished through preventing falls, using locks and taking fire safety precautions. For example, preventing falls by installing grab bars or rails and clearing any shaggy rugs or cords can help prevent falling and further injury in the Alzheimer’s patient. Lastly, fire safety is one the biggest challenges because often times patients may run the risk of leaving an oven on, or if the loved one smokes, make sure they do it under supervision.
All of these tips are a great starting point for people caring for people with Alzheimer’s. With all this being said, caregivers may feel a bit overwhelmed through this entire process. Focusing on their own health and support system is what caregivers need in order to keep up with their own health. Finding support from family, friends or support groups is a great way to reduce stress and frustrations. Dr. Ronald Peterson, the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center Director discusses further on how to care for yourself as a caregiver in the video below.
Mayo Clinic. Caregivers. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/caregivers/in-depth/alzheimers-caregiver/art-20047577 accessed. June 21, 2018.