By Stephen Lair
At Home Instead Senior Care of Chapel Hill, we have our fair share of clients who cope with Alzheimer's disease in various stages. Our specially trained CAREGivers go the extra mile to ensure our clients living with Alzheimer's can maintain a high quality of life and achieve relative happiness in the face of an advancing illness.
We take great care with the Alzheimer's patients among our client population, and we follow a variety of strategies and coping mechanisms for dealing with this cruel illness. Here are just a few of the many things we do ourselves to help Alzheimer's patients at Home Instead Senior Care of Chapel Hill, and you can do them, too.
Routine, Routine, Routine
When mitigating the challenges of a disease that causes confusion, it's so important to establish a good routine. When you think about the routines of daily life, there are many to consider: what time you typically have your meals, how you go about taking a shower and getting dressed for the day or undressed for the evening, when you take medicine, and much, much more. Keep in mind that people living with Alzheimer's may forget things that the rest of us take for granted as simple, such as how to fill a tub with warm water at a comfortable temperature for a bath.
Make Your Environment Quiet and Calm
Noise and other forms of overstimulation can cause severe confusion and mood changes for Alzheimer's patients; thus, you need to take special care to keep your home quiet and calm. This means avoiding having loud conversation and playing the television or stereo simultaneously. Also, you may have to ensure that the home never gets crowded. Even if a large family wants to come over for a visit to enjoy your patient and show support, having too many people in the room can have the opposite effect, throwing your loved one into chaotic mood swings.
While people living with Alzheimer's may become more and more limited in what they can do for themselves as the disease advances, that doesn't mean they can't do anything. Alzheimer's limits the mind's ability to see through a process from first step to completion, even with mundane tasks like drawing a bath. It's important, though, to figure out what your loved one can do to contribute to their own well-being. For example, if they've enjoyed gardening, you may want to assist them with their spring planting by handling plant selection, digging holes, adding fertilizer and topsoil, and then allowing them to set the plant in place before covering and watering. They will get tremendous satisfaction from being part of the team and doing their small parts to complete tasks that have always given them great joy.
Deal with Fear, Don't Dismiss it
Alzheimer's patients often feel like prisoners in their own homes, and worse yet, as they forget who people are and how they are secure, they often fear for their safety. This is a terrible dynamic, and we need to be empathetic to their needs. A good way to assuage any fears is to go through a checklist of proofs for security. For example, you can walk around the house to check window and door locks. Also, you can show them the list of emergency phone numbers that are handy for taking care of any higher-level situation that threatens the peace of the home.
If you care for a loved one with Alzheimer's you know that your situation can change dramatically with each successive year. If you need help caring for your loved one or just a little respite from time to time, we are here and ready to help. Call Home Instead Senior Care of Chapel Hill today to promote a safer, happier home for your family.