Monday, November 3, 2014

Ways to Support a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be challenging as their condition progresses and leads to more changes in their memory and behavior. Making modifications to smooth transitions and help them to remain as independent as possible can be beneficial and enhance care. There are many ways in which you can support your senior:

·         Write down important information in an easily accessible place: As their memory begins to slip, it can be more difficult to remember essential information. Post a list on the refrigerator or right next to the phone of contact numbers, medication information, or other important details. Not only does this make it easier for your senior to find, but should someone visit and need to contact you, the information is easily accessible. You can also write down simple directions such as how to operate the television or DVD player in case they need a quick reminder.

·         Make labels for drawers and cabinets: This serves as a visual cue of where things are located and can cut down on frustration of locating or putting away various items. You could use words, pictures, or both.

·         Set reminders: Use a phone or other device to set reminders that alert your loved one of when it is time to take medication or if they have an upcoming appointment. This can keep them to better manage their medication and not miss out on appointments or events. If they have become disoriented to time or date, this can be especially helpful and help steer them back to the present.

·         Follow routines: People with Alzheimer’s may get more easily frustrated and confused. Try to follow structured routines so they get into the habit of doing certain things, or when things occur. This can make transitions easier and help them to more easily recall what comes next because it is a repetitive action. Creating a routine also reduces the need for your senior to have to make decisions.

·         Stay active: Remaining social and physically active can help to boost mental alertness and mood. Plan activities for your loved one to participate in, or schedule regular outings together. This can reduce mental decline and improve mobility and dexterity.

·         Remain calm: It can be frustrating to have to repeat yourself or answer the same questions over and over again when your loved one’s memory is fading. Try to be patient and remain calm, especially if your senior is getting agitated. Bring up happy memories, redirect them to something they enjoy, and keep things as stress-free as possible. The more you understand your loved one, the easier it can be to make connections and work with them as things change.

Don’t be afraid to reach out for support or ask for help if you need it. Through in-home care and other services, you can ensure that your loved one stays safe and gets the help that they need. Joining a support group for caregivers can allow you to connect with others going through similar situations. Simple changes can help both you and your loved one to enjoy the time you spend together and support them in maintaining their independence as much as possible.

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