Guide to Caring for Alzheimer’s Patients

Receiving the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is hard for the patient as well as family members. Alzheimer’s patients cannot be cured of their ailment and require assisted living as the disease progresses. Family members can make it easier on everyone if they take care to make certain changes that can improve the quality of living. It is important foremost to understand what the condition entails, how the disease progresses, and ways that can reduce the effect of symptoms on the patient’s environment. Your loved one will require care and support in every aspect, so be prepared to give them that assistance. Alzheimer’s patients are prone to turn argumentative, irritable, and angry, and these may in turn cause caregivers to give up in frustration. Prevent burnout by understanding the disease completely and with healthcare experts’ recommended guidelines on patient care.

Making Important Choices

Once the patient and the family have processed the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, the next step is to make important decisions that are likely to impact the persons involved. Memory loss is part of the bundle of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. If patients can still make decisions on their own then allow them to do so, consider their wishes, and try to act on the same. Some important choices will have to be made among family members. One must come to a consensus on who will handle financial and treatment decisions. Alzheimer’s disease requires continued care, especially in the later stages, and the person who will be the primary caregiver should be decided. The person should be able to commit to the long-term caregiving plan. Patients may require relocation if they stay in remote places, live alone, or do not have access to emergency help. Due to the necessity of round the clock assistance in the later stage, it may be wiser to opt for assisted living facilities.

Viewing From the Perspective Of The Patient

Alzheimer’s disease patients need a lot of understanding on the part of caregivers. The illness is different in every person with just similarities in symptoms. Looking at the world from the perspective of Alzheimer’s patients will help you understand what they are going through. Memory loss, emotional distress, the inability to communicate clearly, disorientation, wandering aimlessly, unable to perform functions independently, and other related problems, can be frustrating for the affected persons. These symptoms occur with more severity as the disease progresses. With a little patience, they can be pacified accordingly. Convert the environment of Alzheimer’s patients to suit their daily routine by removing clutter, leaving important cues to aid memory, reducing the objects that they are likely to bump into, allowing them to handle simple tasks, and providing a sense of purpose.

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Useful Dos And Don’ts

Caregivers should be careful with the way they communicate with Alzheimer’s patients to avoid confusion and prevent mishaps. The following tips are meant to guide you on what you can do and shouldn’t do when communicating with patients.

  • Keep communication short, simple, and clear to avoid confusion
  • Offer one direction or instruction at a time.
  • Repeat your message in a different way if they fail to understand the first time.
  • Hold the person’s attention by maintaining eye contact and using gestures.
  • Do not ask negative questions that put them down.
  • Do not pint out the person’s mistakes.
  • Use humor to defuse situations.
  • Do not use unfamiliar slang.
  • Do not use patronizing language or words that can be misconstrued.
  • Include the person into conversation as with any normal person.

One can only prepare for the road ahead with a broad mind. Seek professional help if you find it difficult to care for the Alzheimer’s patient.