Alzheimer’s disease and dementia progress over time and you may notice a slight change in the behavior of your loved one who you may be caring for. They will need help more as the disease progresses and communication with them may become more difficult over time. As a professional caregiver or a family member of a loved one who has Alzheimer’s, it is important that you communicate well to reduce frustration and become more flexible as the disease progresses.
Caregivers and family members caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s must learn to provide clear communication to the patient to reduce frustration and make it easy for them to understand. Some things that may make communication easier for both the patient and the caregiver include:
- Scheduling activities on specific days and times and writing them down for the patient at the same time so that they know what to expect
- Provide simple written instructions for any activity so they can follow them easily
- Always being respectful when it takes longer for the patient to explain or understand a concept
- Communicating slowly and clearly in short sentences
- Limit distractions when communicating (TV and other noises) so that the patient can focus on what you are communicating
- Involve them in activities as they can do easy tasks to help you and communicate slowly throughout the activity
Flexibility is Important
As the disease progresses, you will need to be more flexible with your time and you must increase your level of patience. An Alzheimer’s sufferer may become agitated quickly and even unable to communicate their needs verbally as their disease progresses. Therefore, it is important to always communicate well so that you can understand their needs. This may include taking more time to understand what they are trying to tell you, reducing outside noises so they can focus, and practicing understanding their non-verbal cues. The important thing to remember is that this disease is difficult on both the patient and the caregiver and mutual understanding is crucial to make the partnership work well.
Care Will Look Different for Each Alzheimer’s Patient
The crucial thing to remember is that caring for each individual patient with Alzheimer’s will look different based on their personality and the progression of the disease. The caregiver or a loved one caring for an Alzheimer’s sufferer should always take this into consideration as it will help them care for the patient better. The disease may progress slowly over the years for example, while for others it may progress more quickly.
It is important to stay informed about the disease and how to best care for the patient during the specific stage they may be in. This will help keep both the patient and the caregiver or loved one caring for the patient fully aware of the patient’s needs. You can also stay informed about the disease by using online resources and speaking to their doctor so that you can best care for them at the stage of disease they may be in. Also, make sure to check out local resources for caregivers where you can connect with other caregivers in a similar situation. This may be especially helpful for family members as they can learn from other caregivers which can help them care for their loved one better.
Practical Tips for Caregivers
Whether you are a caregiver or a family member caring for a loved one, taking care of someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is not easy. Here are a few tips that can help you when caring for someone that has this disease:
- Keep yourself informed on the stage of the disease they are in so that you can help them best.
- Be aware that there will be good and bad days as the disease progresses.
- Account for extra time in your schedule as it may take longer to do an activity.
- Reduce the amount of daytime sleeping to avoid confusion.
- Make sure they get exercise indoors or outdoors to keep them physically active.
- If they enjoy music or specific hobbies, get them involved in those to help with their mood and overall mental state.
- Help them maintain a healthy weight by providing healthy meal choices.
- Be realistic in your expectations and have a long-term plan for their care.
- Ask other family members to help with the care of your loved one or hire an agency to provide you with respite care. You cannot take care of your loved one if you do not take care of yourself first.
Are you in need of care for your loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s disease? Our staff at Assisting Hands Home Care can help. Our caregivers are trained and experienced in providing Alzheimer’s care to your loved one. We offer caregiving services in Coppell, Dallas, Highland Park, Richardson, University Park TX, and the surrounding areas in Dallas and Tarrant Counties. To learn more our non-medical home health care services call us today at (214) 865-7870.
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