It is estimated that nearly 44 million people worldwide have Alzheimer’s or related dementia. The total number of people with Alzheimer’s is projected to almost double every 20 years.
What really scares me is Alzheimer’s or premature senility, losing that ability to read and enjoy and to write. And you do it, and some days maybe aren’t so good, and then some days, you really catch a wave, and it’s as good as it ever was: – Stephen King
Patience and flexibility are of most importance in Alzheimer’s patients care. Practical tips to be considered by caregivers when handling patients with Alzheimer’s are illustrated in the figure. This helps maintain a sense of independence, dignity and boost their confidence as the patient becomes dependent on caregiver for his/her daily needs.
Figure 1: Tips for caregivers’ family and friends of patient on how a person with Alzheimer’s disease should be cared.
Handling patients with Alzheimer’s disease
Caring for patients with Alzheimer’s disease is challenging, and in many instances the caregiver also falls into depression if they are not supported by friends and family. One of the major challenges a caregiver faces is the change in behaviour of the patient. Both the patient and the caregiver find it difficult to manage the daily basic activities like bathing, eating dressing etc.
- Tackling communication challenge in Alzheimer’s Disease
Communicating with a patient with Alzheimer’s can be challenging as both understanding and being understood pose a problem. Thus, always try to communicate in simple words and short sentences, avoiding distractions. In many cases the patient finds it difficult to frame sentences to communicate. Have patience and provide them the words he/she is looking for. Give them enough time to respond.
- Tips to reduce bathing and showering challenge in Alzheimer’s disease
Plan bathing or shower for time of the day when the patient is calm and is ready for bathing. Try to make it a routine. The patient must be made comfortable. As the patient is sensitive to temperature, test the water temperature before bath.
- Dressing a person with Alzheimer’s disease
Try to get the patient dressed same time each day and make it a routine. Give the patient time to dress and encourage the patient to dress himself/herself.
- Getting a Person with Alzheimer’s disease to Eat
Try to maintain familiar meal time routine. Ensure a calm, relaxed environment free of distractions during meal time. This helps to reduce confusion and anxiety of patients. Caregivers must ensure that patients are drinking enough water to avoid dehydration. Routine oral check-ups have to be done.
- Exercises and Activities for people with Alzheimer’s disease
Always watch for agitations. Simple and easy activities which will enhance his/her skills will be more effective than teaching them something new. Exercises can improve the patients’ health and help them to sleep better.
- Incontinence in patients with Alzheimer’s disease
This is a common problem faced by the patients as the disease progress. Limit fluids containing caffeine and other diuretics.
- Sleep Problems for Caregivers and a Person with Alzheimer’s disease
Many patients with Alzheimer’s faces ‘sundowning syndrome’, where the patient gets agitated and irritated during bed time. Exercises and physical activity with minimized day time naps helps the patient to get a sound sleep during night.
- Hallucinations and delusion in patients with Alzheimer’s disease
In most cases hallucination and delusions are signs of physical illness. In such situations avoid arguing with the patient and distract the patient attention to some other topics. Check whether the patient has access to any dangerous objects that can cause harm to others and the patient himself/herself.
- Wandering: A problem for a person with Alzheimer’s disease
People with Alzheimer’s tend to wander away from their home. Always ensure that the patient carries some sort of identification. Notify local authorities in advance regarding this problem. Always try to keep the doors locked.
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Turacoz healthcare solutions, aims to increase awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and with this blog, provide useful tips to caregivers, family and friends of Alzheimer’s patients.