Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects memory, communication, and physical capacities in the patient. As a carer, it is imperative to understand the implications and foster nurturing solutions to enhance daily existence for all involved. Though it may be tough going, some things can be put in place to improve routine and reduce damaging effects. This post discusses ways to care for Alzheimer’s patients.
Create a Predictable Routine
One thing that resonates with Alzheimer’s patients is predictability. Their memory is failing and feelings of confusion, disorientation, and anxiety are replacing everything that was previously normal to them. Assuming the role of carer means establishing as an enabler and detracting from the overall impact. Have continuity in timings, for example, wake up at the same time every day, lay the clothes out for getting dressed, have breakfast, and encourage personal hygiene.
Hire a Professional Carer
If the person needs extra assistance with personal hygiene tasks and this feels overwhelming, consider a professional carer that can come in and help out. Tasks can then be delegated and you get to maintain boundaries and only care for things that are within your realm of comfort.
Patience seems contradictory in such a frustrating and difficult situation. But it is the thing that will anchor your feet to the ground and help retain dignity and a shred of autonomy for the patient too. Look after personal stress levels so that resentment and anxiety don’t bubble over into caring duties. Though the person may be losing their abilities, they are still the same human as before.
Give Independence Wherever Possible
Especially in the early stages of the disease, retaining autonomy is essential. If they are able, allow things to take a natural course and remove the urge to micro-manage every detail. Though it won’t stop Alzheimer’s from further deteriorating the brain, instilling independent movement and activity allows the patient to explore and retain their identity. Making sure they have their home comforts and familiarities is a good way to achieve this task, for example, their favorite TV shows in an accessible area.
It is guaranteed that medication will be required at some stage of disease development. There are lots of options for medications for Alzheimer’s that slow the effects as they infiltrate. Though none of these provide an absolute solution, and the disease is by its very nature degenerative, they can nurture and alleviate certain aspects. Some medications are focused on stimulating the mind and others are tailored toward pain relief. Pain can be a major problem with Alzheimer’s, as the body begins to feel the effects. Walking and general movement become difficult and sleep issues can cause muscle problems too.
A diagnosis of this description is life-changing, especially for anyone involved in the caring elements of the patient. It is a slow path and ultimately, the focus should be on nurture, alleviation, and management. There are many paths forward and everyone has a preference, often external caring services are required as the disease progresses and there is no harm or failure in that.