Having a sick family member at home means extra care, love and being very attentive to the individual’s needs. Howsoever, having an Alzheimer’s patient at home requires much more than that. In Alzheimer’s, a person’s brain cells start to die which means that as the disease progresses, the person not only loses his/her memory but also loses the ability to perform simple daily tasks. Dementia is just one aspect of Alzheimer’s. The non-curable disease eventually results in death in severe cases.
It is hard to have a loved one suffer from Alzheimer’s – to remind them of who they are, to see them forget a little more day by day, to realize that they cannot perform the simplest of things in order to live. Here’s how you can care for an Alzheimer’s patient at home:
1. They should feel safe at home
The outside for them will obviously be unsafe since they will not be able to perceive danger or take care of themselves however, the inside needs to offer a soothing and relaxing environment. It needs to allow them to feel free and not trigger them in any manner. The individuals will already be dealing with grief and frustration on not being able to take care of themselves and recall important things. Alter the house’s environment according to their needs. Other than allowing mental relaxation, the house should also be proofed like it is done for a child. Water temperature should be checked, slippery surfaces should be addressed, cover or remove sharp utensils and electric appliances that may harm the person, etc. If taking care of the patient stresses you out, remember that you need to be in your best health to take care of a loved one so breathe in and out, and seek therapy to let your emotions out.
2. There should be a schedule to follow
Stay organized. With an organized routine, not only will you be able to manage things better but the patient might be able to decipher his/her surroundings in a better manner. Consult the individual’s nutritionist for a timed meal plan to follow. Set regular follow-up appointments with the specialist to mark the progress of the patient.
3. Know that repetition is key
Take out time to unwind at the end of the day. However, during it, don’t fret when the patient asks too many questions, refuses to corporate or has to you repeat a thing a dozen times. They themselves are confused and their brain cannot help them. Post sticky notes, make recordings and keep the things around them familiar. A pro tip is to reduce distractions such as television in the background so that the patient can focus on one activity at a time.
4. Let them be in control too
Don’t let the patient feel as hopeless as the disease has made him/her to be. When they’re rejoicing, laugh with them. When they’re sad, talk it out. When they’re scared, let them know that you’re always a blink away. Moreover, let them make decisions. These can be as little as what shows they watch to watch, what flavored noodles they want to have or if they want to go for a walk or not. But at the end of the day, make sure that their routine stays on track.
5. Don’t hesitate to ask for help
Caring for a person can be hard. If you feel fatigued, or low, it doesn’t mean that you don’t love the person you’re caring for. Sometimes it just means that you need help. Don’t feel pressured to do everything on your own. You’re only human. If a family member can’t be of assistance, or the patient is most comfortable with you, hire house help to clean, or to help with other work so that you can get some chores off your plate!
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