Alzheimer's Care: Tips to Survive the Stages of Alzheimer's Disease

Learn strategies for providing the best care for a loved one with Alzheimer's, including coping mechanisms and person-centered therapy. Understand the challenges and emotions of caring for someone with dementia.

Alzheimer's Care: Tips to Survive the Stages of Alzheimer's Disease
Empowering Alzheimer's Caregivers: Strategies for Each Stage 🌼 #AlzheimersCare

It is challenging to provide compassionate and supportive Alzheimer’s care. Caring for someone that suffer from progressive dementia can be... exhausting, frustrating, and depressing.

Watching a parent or grandparent who once had a distinct and vibrant personality deteriorate into.... a confused and unresponsive individual is one of life’s most difficult challenges.

Being an Alzheimer’s caregiver requires coping with many changes. Dealing with profound emotions in a healthy manner... to avoid feelings of anxiety, anger, guilt and despair. Understanding what to expect as the dementia patient’s health declines helps. Knowledge prepares the caregiver for the... devastating effects of the stages of Alzheimer’s disease on the person’s mind and body.

Difficulties of Caring for an Alzheimer's Patient at Home

As the disease eventually robs them of their ability to...

  • Think
  • Remember
  • Recognize familiar people
  • Perform everyday tasks

Caregivers will need to tap into coping mechanisms. Understanding the disease process does this.

Anger and Resentment

Why Does Caregiver Anger Occur?

Alzheimer’s life expectancy from the time of the diagnosis can be anywhere from three to as much as 20 to 25 years. This depends on the physical health of the patient. Providing Alzheimer’s care for a family member who may need up to 10 hours of assistance each day can produce... powerful feelings of resentment in caregivers.

Guilt, confusion and feelings of being taken for granted...are emotions that affect the caregiver. Many are trying to do the right thing by keeping a loved one at home and out of a nursing home or institution.

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    Aggravating these feelings of resentment are the actions of the dementia patient... who often seems to act ungrateful, irritable and “contrary” deliberately.

    Caregivers understand that it is the disease causing a loved one to react negatively. The constant stress of dealing with someone who, for the most part, may appear to know what is happening to them... can create uncertainty and impatience. These feelings often occur in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease... when the patient still has many moments of lucidity. And are still able to perform some tasks, albeit slowly.

    Isolation and Embarrassment

    Alzheimer’s patients can behave... loudly, irrationally and in socially unacceptable ways. Many families try to avoid difficult situations by reducing the amount of social activities.

    Research into the effects of isolation on Alzheimer’s dementia patients found... loss of social contacts correlates with a faster than average decline. It affects both cognitive and physical health.

    These studies show that patients in all dementia stages benefit from regular social interactions. As well as participating various art, music and dance therapies. Many nursing homes are now implementing “person-centered” therapy techniques. These involve treating dementia patients with... patience, compassion, respect and dignity regardless of their cognitive condition.

    Keep everything as familiar and structured as possible for the dementia patient:

    • Mealtimes
    • Baths
    • Sleep schedules

    Daily hygiene routines should be performed at the same time everyday . This helps the person feel more secure and less disoriented.

    Do not let the patient sit in front of a television for more than 30 minutes at a time. Let them pick out two or three shows they like to watch daily. But fill the remainder of the day with... creative activities, socializing and doing things outside such as light gardening or walking.

    Try not to feel like you are doing the patient a favor by overcompensating for their disabilities. Even if the patient cannot tie his or her shoes anymore, he may still be able to fold clean towels or brush the dog. When deciding on an Alzheimer’s care plan...try to integrate simple activities the patient can do. Ones that make them feel like they are contributing to the household

    Keep communication simple but not condescending. Give the patient time to answer questions before repeating the question. Encourage non-verbal communication... pointing or gesturing, if the patient has difficulty remembering names for objects.

    How to Communicate with Someone With Dementia

    Do not assume you know what the patient needs because you feel impatient about waiting for an answer. Always remember... that someone with Alzheimer’s is at the mercy of a brain that is no longer able to function. They cannot control how they act or think.

    If a family member with Alzheimer’s starts to exhibit middle of the night wandering tendencies consider... installing locks that are challenging to the patient.

    Placing deadbolts that are too high for the patient to reach may prevent them from leaving the home.

    Security motion detectors... that set off a loud alarm whenever the door is opened. This can alert others to the fact that the patient may be leaving the home.

    Home Safety Tips for People with Dementia

    Additional Alzheimer’s care tips include:

    • Placing adhesive strips under rugs to prevent slippage
    • Remove any decorative or plastic vegetables and fruits from view. It may seen as being real
    • Keeping your refrigerator cleaned out (dementia patients may not realize that food has spoiled and eat it).
    • Eliminate any “ground clutter” in the home... such as magazine racks, floor lamps or beanbag chairs . These might be hazardous to an ambulatory patient.
    Have a story about your caregiving journey? Have tips to share with other caregivers? Need help with a behavior? Please share here? Help others realize that they are not alone. Submit Your Caregiver Story
    Do you need help caring for a loved one?

    Our Resources section can help you find the information and tools that you need. We have courses, videos, checklists, guidebooks, cheat sheets, how-to guides and more.

    You can get started by clicking on the link below. We know that taking care of a loved one is hard work, but with our help you can get the support that you need.

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